Roaming along the coastline of Newport, Oregon

roam: verb - To move about without purpose or plan; to wander.

The Oregon Coast is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been. There’s something about the walls of mist rolling through big, black rock outcroppings, the bent pines standing up to the ocean winds, and the booming power of the waves hitting the sand that really gets me out of my head. It’s one place that I regularly escape to when living in the high desert makes me feel claustrophobic.

I love to pretend that I’m an explorer several hundred years ago, breaking through the brush to see the staggered and other-wordly coastline of the Pacific Northwest for the first time by any foreigner. I like to pretend there are no roads, that relations with the tribes are peaceful and reciprocal, that I’m seeing it in its most pristine, most primitive, and most un-polluted state. It brings back some of the magic for me that’s taken away by the honking of car horns and blinking of neon lights.

Newport is a great little town bustling with delicious seafood diners, a wonderful aquarium, and miles of public coastline to explore. There’s the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area that features tide pools and a sweet lighthouse, too. I went just for the day with one of my closest friends and the dog, both of whom love the coast as much as I do. On this trip, I had only two strict missions: to eat fresh sushi (check) and to spend inordinate amounts of time on the beach (double check).

One of the best parts of going coastal is the opportunity to spend, literally, hours wandering around the beaches looking for things to stick in my pockets. Why is this so addictive? I have no idea. But here on this section of coast, you can find innumerable saltwater-tumbled agates, fossils, and fragments of once-living creatures. (I know you shouldn’t always take treasures, and I don’t when I’m in an area where the treasures are delicate or limited. The Oregon coast is not one of those places. Also, I’m a human, and taking curios from nature is something I’m totally, self-indulgently guilty of. There, I owned it.)

Fossils trapped in ancient sediment.

Sometimes you find things that you kind of wish you hadn’t. Or, rather, that you kind of wish your dog hadn’t. Like a really, really dead puffin.

You’ll notice the dog prints around it. Sunka rolled in it, made my friend dry heave, and I had to breathe through my mouth after I drug him to the edge of the water and scrubbed the remains from both his collar and his fur. I contemplated taking home the skull and boiling it down because, well, it’s a cool skull, but the aforementioned friend knows me very well and gave me the stern look that said, “No puffin parts in the car during a four hour drive home.” (As once-roommates, she remembers the days of me preserving found dead things in the freezer. They were well-wrapped, but I guess even so a dead fox next to her ice cream was still a dead fox next to her ice cream.)

I also love all the shapes, colors, and great lines that you can find on the coast. The ocean is quite the artist.

Besides the puffin, the hummingbirds at our campsite, and the beach-combing, I was especially fond of this slug who capitalized on a lost noodle from my pasta salad. He ate nearly the whole noodle!

Thanks for joining me, friends. Can you spot the heart in this last pic? It’s a little tough.

Scroll down to see. :)

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Posted on March 16, 2012, in Roaming and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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