You can never count on the weather to be good in Oregon, but the closest you can get to an almost guarantee for sunny weather is August. Having taken a week off from work in Florida to visit family in Oregon, and my penchant for picnics, we naturally ended up on the Oregon Coast one lovely weekend day in August.
We started early that day so we could get to one of my favorite spots, Indian Beach at Ecola State Park, at a reasonably early hour and actually get a parking spot and picnic table. Indian Beach is a favorite for surfers and dog people too. It is a day use area only, with a small parking lot. In the afternoon, a ranger is positioned at the entrance and cars are only allowed up the road if someone else drives out. We got there early, and snagged both a parking spot and one of the best picnic tables with a view.
As we drove out to the coast there was a thick fog hanging low over the Columbia River and Astoria, which didn’t lift until nearly right at the beach. The fog hung just off the coast over the water, and gave us a gorgeous sunny day with little wind. A rare treat for a beach-goer in Oregon.
Indian Beach has some good tide pools with anemones and star fish. The water is ice cold. Surfers wear dry suits and I can only go in as far as my knees, if it’s hot.
This was a well planned picnic with all the traditional picnic foods, but of course substituting “smart dogs” (soy) for hot dogs. A picnic is not a picnic without my mothers potato salad and at least one dog dropped into the fire.
After Indian Beach, we stopped at the Ecola State Park for photos of the view along the beach and Haystack Rock. We saw a sign warning about cougars, but sightings are a rare occurrence. In all the years I lived in Oregon, I was never lucky enough to see one. My sister, who spent many years driving over Mount Hood on a daily basis only saw one or two. A park ranger we stopped and spoke with said someone had reported a sighting last month at Indian Springs, but it wasn’t a ranger and he sounded skeptical.
We also drove through cute and trendy Cannon Beach, but didn’t stop as it was so crowded we did not see any parking spaces. Not surprising for a warm, sunny August weekend.
Driving back towards Astoria from the coast, we stopped at Fort Stevens State Park to see the Peter Iredale. This beach was another frequent childhood haunt, and the location of one of my all time favorite family photos.
I hadn’t been in quite some time and I wanted to see how much of the old shipwreck was left. The Peter Iredale wrecked here on the beach on Oct. 25.6th, 1906. We’ve been coming here for years as the ship deteriorated and the dunes reshaped themselves. It is always very windy here, as it was when we stopped.
Our last nostalgia stop was the Astoria Column. One sister spent a high school summer break working at the column and one cousin lived in the caretakers house for several years.