At some point during our drive west on Friday morning, Erik and I realized it had been nearly two years since we'd seen the ocean. That seems terribly wrong when you live less than two hours away. But the day certainly made up for our long absence, filling us up with more coastal glory than I could have imagined was possible for mid-March. I have spent many a summer day at the beach in Oregon, bundled in multiple wind-and-cold-blocking layers. So to be in shorts and a tank top on Friday, well, it was like being magically transported to some tropical island for the day.
The morning started with a four-mile beach walk--from Oceanside to Netarts and back. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look up and drink in that vast beauty of the ocean, as I'm so prone to just looking at all the lovely little details of shore life. I stop and admire shiny rocks, purple seaweed, and colorful shells often; slowly filling my pockets with the prettiest of sea treasures that catch my eye. So the first two miles wasn't much in the way of exercise, but lunchtime pangs of hunger motivated us into a brisk walk on the way back. By that hour, the sun had thoroughly warmed us up so that the air rushing in with the waves was the perfect refreshment.
We drove to a viewpoint and unpacked our picnic lunch--things like hard-boiled eggs, lots of crisp apple wedges, and veggie crudites for scooping up a walnut-and-herb pate. Simple, whole foods taste so good when you're thoroughly hungry. For a little sweet treat we had one of my favorite snacks of late--pecans and walnuts ground in the food processor with dates, shredded coconut, and raw cocoa powder. Yum--it's like eating spoonfuls of raw, date-nut cookie dough!
On we drove without a particular destination in mind and ended up at Clay Myers State Natural Area in the afternoon. What a beautiful spot it was! We decided to do the little 1.4 mile walk around Whalen Island, but not before much time was spent ogling the swarms of iridescent Roufus hummingbirds that darted playfully in and out of a thicket of bright pink-red blossoms. The island walk led us to views of the estuary and a pristine bay of still waters surrounded by a warm, sandy beach.
We rolled into Pacific City around the dinner hour -- just in time for Erik to order a pizza. I made myself a nice salad and we ate sprawled out on an old blanket, overlooking Cape Kiwanda. The forthcoming sunset had us mesmerized, so we stayed put -- alternating between reading, talking, taking pictures, and just watching the dramatic sky unfold.