Last Christmas Eve, Josh and I decided to go on a 2-hour road trip to Cannon Beach, a small city in Oregon. We had never been and all I knew about the place was that it is home to the famous Haystack Rock.
The 4-hour roundtrip was definitely worth it.
On our way there, we drove below cloudy skies, pouring rain, drizzle, rainbows and a little bit of sunshine. We had no idea what the weather was going to be like when we arrived. Luckily, it was wonderful. It was chilly and windy but it wasn’t raining and that was perfect.
And we wore our Oregon uniform: waterproof hiking boots and rain jackets. So, we were prepared.
Haystack Rock is a 235-foot (72-meter) monolith that sits on Cannon Beach and is accessible when the tide is low. I must say it is pretty cool to see in person.
History of Cannon Beach
Cannon Beach has a bit of interesting history regarding the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The second recorded journey by a European to what is now Cannon Beach was made by William Clark, one of the leaders of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in early 1806. From a spot near the western cliffs of the headland Clark saw “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean...” That viewpoint, later dubbed “Clark’s Point of View,” can be accessed by a hiking trail from Indian Beach in Ecola State Park.
Clark and several of his companions, including Sacagawea, completed a three-day journey on January 10, 1806, to the site where a whale had beached several miles south, near the mouth of Ecola Creek. They encountered a group of Native Americans from the Tillamook tribe who were boiling whale blubber for storage.
Clark applied the name “Ekoli” to what is now Ecola Creek. Ehkoli is a Chinook word for “whale”. Early settlers later renamed the creek “Elk Creek”, and a community with the same name formed nearby.
In 1846, a cannon from the US Navy schooner Shark washed ashore just north of Arch Cape, a few miles south of the community. The schooner hit land while attempting to cross the Columbia Bar, also known as the “Graveyard of the Pacific.” The cannon, rediscovered in 1898, eventually inspired a name change for the growing community.
In 1922, Elk Creek was redubbed Cannon Beach (after the name of the beach that extends south of Ecola Creek for eight miles, ending at Arch Cape) at the insistence of the Post Office Department because the name was frequently confused with Ecola. Elk Creek itself was renamed Ecola Creek to honor William Clark’s original name. (source)
Christmas Eve at Cannon Beach
I am an amateur photographer, so I can only imagine the photos that I could’ve taken if I was more experienced. Cannon beach is extremely photogenic. There was a constant natural light change in a matter of minutes. The clouds were moving fast and the sun played hide and seek. There was also a little bit of drizzle all of which created a series of photos with different moods.
We had the 8-mile beach almost all to ourselves because it was winter and specifically Christmas Eve Day.
The perfect light came out and lasted about 30 seconds.
We had some food at MO’s Restaurant, a beachfront chowder house. They were open till 5pm on this Christmas Eve.
And then we decided to keep having some fun at the beach before it became dark.
The wave is coming, run forest!
It was quite a magical way to spend Christmas Eve.
I loved the solitude and the feeling of being at the beach during winter. This is something I hadn’t experienced before. Walking on sea water with hiking boots while my feet stayed dry, walking against the bursts of strong winds, and sinking into the scenery of the vast ocean. It refreshed my soul.
Most of my life whenever I thought of “beach” I pictured swimsuits, coconut ice cream, and warm weather.
What is your favorite beach in the world?