Sunday, March 04, 2007

"Ocian in View! O! The Joy"

On the morning that we flew out of Harrisburg, we were greeted with a marvelous sunrise. In actuality, we should have seen it as an omen--for the majority of our trip to Oregon, we did not see the sun! In fact, of the days that we had set aside for sight-seeing, each of them had significant rain fall, and some even had snow in higher elevations.

With the words of the title of this post, Lewis and Clark recorded their arrival at the final destination of their long journey--the Pacific Ocean. What they were actually seeing was the mouth of the Columbia River.

Since we were close to the Pacific Ocean while visiting Portland, we made certain to take a day to drive there. We set our GPS for Astoria, where the Columbia flows into the Pacific, and once again picked "least traveled" as our preferred route. From Portland, we drove west along Highway 26, called the Sunset Highway. In subsequent days, when we watched local weather, this highway was one that forecasters focused on, as its elevation makes it an area where snow fall occurs regularly. Sure enough, as we drove along, and began to climb, the rain turned to big fat wet sloppy snowflakes. (One of the curiosities for me was listening to weather forecasts in Portland--I don't ever recall hearing the forecast given by altitude--in the Willamette Valley, where Portland lies, there will be rain, but at higher elevations for those same days the forecast called for snow at 500 feet, or 1,000 feet!)

No doubt, due to the high rain fall levels, the trees that we saw as we drove along had an other-worldly look--they were all covered up and down the trunk and out the branches with thick moss--furry green trees! I thought they looked like left-over props from The Lord of the Rings; I almost expected the trees to pick up roots and start walking.

After some distance on Highway 26, our GPS (which we named Maggie, as it was a Magellan unit) told us to turn off 26 on to State Route (or maybe even local) 202. It surely looked like a road not traveled, never mind less traveled. But we obeyed Maggie. Driving along, there were several small waterfalls fed by the seeming constant rain.

And more mossy trees.

My husband, equipped with his new spiffy little Canon camera, thought it quite funny to take photos of me fiddling with my also spiffy bigger new Canon camera! Ha ha! dear--watch out. . .pay back is possible with dueling cameras.

Then suddenly, we saw animals out in a field. A herd of elk. As it turns out, we were driving through a game preserve, so the two herd of elk that we saw were not free-range in the truest sense. But neither of us had seen elk, even though Pennsylvania has an Elk County!

A little closer to them, they were completely passive--oh, more humans. Humph, back to grazing.

Finally, our first destination. We had told Maggie to take us to the
Astoria Column. This monument was built in the 1920s to commemorate various events in the history of Astoria. Money to build the column came from a descendent of John Jacob Astor, for whom Astoria was named.

The view from the hill where the column was situated would have been spectacular, were it not for the . . .oh, the rain. Right, it was raining. Did I mention, it rained?

We could still get a sense of the sweep of the Columbia River, emptying into the Pacific, and try to imagine what Lewis and Clark felt, other than relief that the goal of their journey had been realized.
For the next destination on the trip, we told Maggie to take us to Cannon Beach. This lovely little town has cute little shops, various inns, and the world-famous (so we were told) Mo's. Remember payback time--well, for lunch my husband ordered a chili dog. I don't think this is quite what he expected.

And I ordered oyster stew. Yum.

Cannon Beach was quite lovely, and the skies cleared a bit.

It is the site of the famous Haystack Rock, which is visible for miles. In fact, apparently couples plan to have their weddings on the beach, near the rock. I assume not in February, when we were there.

Blue skies! For a minute.

All along the coastal highway 101, there are lovely little views like this. We stopped in a few more towns, then told Maggie to take us back to Portland, this time using the fastest route.

Ocean in view--oh, the joy.


Cathy said...

All the pictures are lovely, but that sunrise is incredible. You've captured some unusual phenomenon here - but what? Some kind of lensing effect. Wow. Were the elk bugling? I've only heard this mating vocalization once and will never forget it.

Mary said...

Donna, I enlarged these photos and they are incredibly good. The ocean view is so good. Even though it rained most of the time, you had a wonderful time and that's good. The oyster stew looks yummy.

I had to laugh about the prospect of a dueling camera competition between you and your husband. LOL! Great to see you!

Thanks for the little trip I took this morning...

Pam said...

What wonderful photos! Absolutely breathtaking scenery. I loved the ocean views and Haystack Rock is incredible.

The mossy trees did have that "Lord of the Rings" look and the Columbia River is awe inspiring.

Climenheise said...

I enjoyed the pictures. I understand that as a family we visited this area in 1954 or thereabouts. I think. Maybe. Driving south from BC to California.

But since I certainly do not remember that trip, I especially enjoyed these glimpses of the area. LOTR? I had to wonder which part of the Lord of the Rings -- perhaps something in the Old Forest, or in Fangorn.