“There is not a lot to do in Yachats, Oregon, but that is what makes this seaside hamlet such a great destination.” – travelguideofamerica.com
Perfect, I thought. This was what I needed. After ending a 6 year relationship 3 months ago, I yearned to go somewhere to heal, to rejuvenate my spirit. This remote coastal town of 749 sounded perfect.
I flew into Portland, taking an early flight from Denver. The gained hour was welcomed. There are a couple of different routes to the coast. I had chosen a route through the wine country, taking I-5S to OR-99W then to OR-18 W/OR-223 S/SE before heading south on US-101, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Although a bit longer time-wise, it was well worth it. There was something about the symmetry of the vineyards that calmed me; the rolling hills of the fertile land putting my mind at ease. I felt connected to the earth.
As I made the left onto OR-18/OR-223 S/SE, I noticed a produce market. I stopped in and filled a couple of bags with the yummy, fresh Oregon produce. But, my spirit was restless as I returned to the road. I needed the roar of the sea and the salty scent of the air.
After about 3 hours, I turned left onto US-101, the PCH. There it was, the Pacific Ocean – waves wildly crashing the rocky shore. I drove south to Yachats, eager to see the quiet town that had captured my imagination.
When I pulled into the parking lot at the Overleaf Lodge, I knew I had chosen wisely. The hotel was lovely and my room was beautiful and cozy. The bed was huge and kitted out with comfy linens. The fireplace was an added touch. The best part, however, was the balcony with a killer view of the Pacific. It was perfect.
But, the ocean was calling me, so I grabbed my rain jacket and camera and fled the warmth of the room. I was in search of tide pools.
The 804 Trail runs just outside the hotel, along the rocky coast. I followed it north and there they were: the sea creatures I had dreamed of. Starfish of red, orange and purple perilously clung to the craggy rocks. Bright green sea anemone waved hello to me from under the shallow depths of the salty sea. A wish was fulfilled.
After a filling breakfast at the Overleaf the next morning (they have a great breakfast buffet), I drove 3 miles south to Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and a much needed hike. The drive was gorgeous, winding close to the ocean; sometimes high above it, other times eye to eye with the waves. I checked in at the visitors’ center, then found my way to the trail. There are 26 miles of trails at Cape Perpetua offering everything from old growth forest, to amazing ocean vistas to colorful tide pools.
I had settled on a 6 mile loop route, taking the Cook’s Ridge Trail to the Gwynn Creek Trail. It was eerie at first, stepping into this dense world alone, but the forest opened its arms to me. The pine needles that covered the path had turned an earthy brown over time; the moisture had made them as soft as the comforter on my hotel bed. My footsteps went unheard.
Little mushrooms sprouted up in the fertile, wet ground. Tree trunks were dressed in neon green, fuzzy moss. Grass green ferns grew at their feet. I had this shadowy woodland all to myself.
Even before I saw it, I heard it – the boisterous Pacific. As I rounded the corner the frothy waves blinded me, so white from the sun shining on them. The ocean always made me feel like I had come home.
There was one more stop to make before heading back to the Overleaf.
The Heceta Head Lighthouse sits 14 miles south of Yachats. Built in 1894, it sits 205 feet above the Pacific. Heceta Head is the brightest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast, beaming its light 21 miles out to sea. Perched on a cliff keeping watch over the sea, it is truly beautiful.
As I snapped images of the lighthouse, I looked down at the surf below me, wondering if that was what I thought it was. Yes! Seals were frolicking in the waves. My day was complete. Almost.
I drove north, back to Yachats. Stopping in town, I picked up a few food items at C & K Market and some wine at The Wine Place. I had a special dinner planned.
Back at the Overleaf, I settled onto my balcony with my food and glass of wine. I had the best seat in the house for the show that unfolded before me.
The sun sank lower, touching the sea, the sky turning a yellow-orange. I felt the warmth of the light on my face and in my heart. The ocean had brought me peace, had brought me back to me.
Best time to go – August and September provide the best weather. Go in September for fewer crowds.
For more information on Yachats click here.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area – Just 3 miles south of Yachats, this area is part of the Siuslaw National Forest.