The forecast for the north coast on Monday was for cloudy skies and a high of 60 degrees. Not bad, but certainly sweatshirt and jeans weather, I figured.
Our group — 12 high school students and five adults from the Christian Church in Oregon Regional Youth Council — spent the night on Skyline Drive northwest of Portland at a home that overlooks the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. We would wake up Monday morning and head to Seaside, I assumed.
I assumed wrong. Our leader, regional minister Cathy Myers Wirt, informed those of us doing the driving that we were heading to Tillamook via Highway 6 and then on to Oceanside.
I had no memory or ever going through Oceanside, or where it was for that matter. It just seemed to me that Seaside via Highway 26 was a less windy highway, and it wouldn’t take as long to get there.
I’m glad I didn’t protest, however. The entire drive along Highway 6 was beautiful. And as we got closer to the coast, we saw nothing but sunshine.
Oceanside is on the loop drive west of Tillamook that includes Netarts and Cape Meares State Park. It’s a quaint town with a state wayside and a beautiful beach.
When we got there, three of our members explored the north side of the beach below a cliff. They returned to tell us that there was no wind on the north end, so we trekked about 200 yards and plopped our stuff. It was probably 10 degrees warmer there, so the sweatshirts starting coming off.
The next four hours were idyllic. Some of the members flew kites, while others made sand candles, rode skim boards, walked the beach, tossed the football and soaked up the uninhibited sun. An afternoon on an Oregon beach doesn’t get much better than it did yesterday.
The waves were gentle, so I took a swim — a brief one because the water temperature was probably somewhere in the 50s. On a day like that, I couldn’t pass up the rare opportunity to jump in the ocean.
Half of our group also walked through something I’d never seen on the Oregon Coast: A concrete pedestrian tunnel through the cliff to a another stretch of beach just north of us. This was at low tide. I don’t think I’d want to be anywhere near the tunnel at high tide.
Late in the afternoon during an ice cream stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory, I thanked Cathy for having the wisdom to avoid the crowds in Seaside and leading us to Oceanside. It’s one of those Oregon Coast gems that I look forward to visiting again someday.