Monday, March 4, 2013

Crescent City to Harris State Beach

Harris State Beach, Oregon

The chief, and perhaps only, complaint that can be lodged against the Oregon coast is this: There are too many places worth stopping at and not enough time.

It would be easy to spend the day lamenting all the spots we must drive past in order to get where we are going. But that requires us to spend time and energy not enjoying everything else, which doesn't sound like much fun.

A half hour out of Crescent City, Harris State Beach appears. We pull off the highway and into a parking lot atop a cliff overlooking the ocean. Should we pause to admire the view?

But wait, there is a road leading further down the cliff. Maybe we should try that instead.

A second lot awaits at the bottom, and it is almost empty. This will be a recurring theme in Oregon: pristine beaches with nobody around to enjoy them. A guy could get spoiled.

We descend a series of zig-zag ramps onto the sand. There are a few families, kids running around while dad reads the paper in a lawn chair. The occasional dog. Driftwood lines the beach, gulls wade in the shallows.

Sandra trades her shoes for flip flops and dips her toes into the water. It is very cold, which is one of the reasons I don't join her. Also, I don't like water.

The sky is clear blue, dotted with a few white clouds. Rock formations peak above the ocean surface maybe a half mile out or so.

Rocks closer to the shore serve as a breakwater... almost. Water shoots through a gap between two large rocks at irregular intervals, forming a pool. Starfish and mussels cling to the rocks. Sometimes the water slips through like syrup on pancakes; other times it crashes against the rocks and spits upward like a busted fire hydrant.

The constant whooshing soothes. Its calming effect could lull us into staying here forever. Mesmerized by the sound of water, we would forget to eat and perish, our remains being absorbed by the earth.

It sounds romantic, in an Old Testament sort of way, but we won't forget to eat. Getting the taste of fast-food “chicken sandwiches” out of our mouths remains a top priority. Becoming one with the beach will have to wait.