We woke up in Vinny, the Uninsulated, a bit chilled but dry. The rain was a constant reminder that we made the right decision in not tent camping during the trip. Once Vinny gets insulation and a heat source it will be much more pleasant. Regardless, we were happy to be able to make coffee inside and plan out our day. Breakfast was delicious Tillamook marionberry yogurt.
Our loose plan was to explore more of Ecola State Park; find a brewery; and take some time to slow down a little.
Ecola State Park is much much more than a $5 spot to drive out and snap pics of sea stacks. Turns out that it has some serious hiking trails, the beautiful Indian Beach, cougars, and even sharks! In the interest of getting the most bang for our time (a common theme of this whirlwind tour of everywhere, as you will see) we chose Indian Beach as the spot for mobile basecamp. This meant another slow but beautiful trip down the freshly paved road through Ecola. We snaked through the Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock until we finally descended onto Indian Beach.
I love a good beach as much as the next guy but Indian Beach is much more than a pretty spot to take pictures. The beach’s makeup including sea stacks, cliffs, and large boulder piles lead to a diverse tidal zone.
We made it to the beach as the tide was going out which allowed us to see a diverse array of invertebrates. As a child I remember going to beaches in Florida and being absolutely obsessed with anemones and shellfish. I am very happy to report that that childhood sense of wonder has not been beaten out of me! Without disturbing the wildlife, we were able to observe sand fleas, anemones, tiny crabs, barnacles, and a variety of other sea life along the rocks and pools.
Side note: Investing in a fully waterproof case proved invaluable on this trip, not just for the rainy weather, but also in capturing underwater pictures such as these!
These photos were taken with an iPhone 7 protected by a Lifeproof case. Highly recommend.
We had the beach to ourselves for the most part and spent a few hours soaking up the views, hiking up and down the coast, and exploring the tidal pools.
Before leaving our little haven we made coffee using these yet-to-be-released single use pour over brewing gadgets that are simple to use and taste great. I cannot wait to tell you more about these later.
The morning’s excitement stirred up quite a hunger. We read great things about Public Coast in Cannon Beach so we headed down. Unfortunately we didn’t know that they were closed for brewing on Wednesday.
Luckily, Pelican Brewing was open, so we stopped in for lunch. We had the fish and chips along with some smoked salmon dip. The vibe of the place was pretty touristy, yet the food was great and there were a few other things we wanted to try. The beer was OK but a little on the watery side. Definitely not what I expect from a PNW brewery, but then again, us Michiganders are pretty spoiled by our local craft brews.
After lunch we walked to the main natural attraction of Cannon Beach: Haystack Rock. This impressive sea stack/mound can be walked to during low tide. It plays host to many intertidal animals and serves as a nesting ground for many different waterfowl.
I’m sure that Cannon Beach is bustling with tourists during the busy season. However, our visit was mid-fall in the middle of the week and it was quiet and quaint. We popped in and out of art shops, bookstores, and spent some time at the Cannon Beach Chocolate Cafe (Chelsea’s favorite find–try the dark hot chocolate). We will certainly be making a return trip to Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park.
Our trip back to camp for the night was filled with pitstops to visit small beaches, cliffs, and wildlife. Every few miles a new adventure beckoned, and we filled the rest of our day with as many short hikes and vista views as possible. Our original intent was put some miles down and make it further south along the coast, but there was just so much we wanted to see and we couldn’t resist stopping every few minutes. We’re already looking forward to our return trip.
Oregon’s northern coast is magical.