Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cape Kiwanda

on Cape Kiwanda looking north toward Cape Lookout

This scenic spot on the Oregon Coast near Tillamook is not well-known. It certainly doesn’t have the draw of Seaside with its attractions for teenagers, or Cannon Beach which is known for restaurants and shopping (ugh). We all have our favorite pleasant beaches and this is mine. Kiwanda's broad soft sand beach mingles beauty and solitude with active tide pools, frolicking whales, squirrely seals and daunting sand dunes, and waves that thunder against the cape at high tide, all set around the remnant of an ancient rich-hued sandstone headland.

exploring the tidepools below the cape

We spent three days camping at Kiwanda last week. From the camp a short trail leads through a woodsy dune onto the beach. At low tide a walk around a rocky point leads north to the hamlet of Tierra del Mar. Cape Kiwanda itself is a mile south, though it deceptively appears to be short walk away. Along the walk to the cape the steady predictable rhythm of advancing and ebbing waves is serenely soothing. It’s not always peaceful here; enormous land-bound logs lie against the dune, thrown there by fierce winter storms. Occasionally we see hang-glider-ees hauling their load up the dune, then launching, and we watch as they gracefully soar, arc and drift onto the sand below.

images created in the sand by wave action

Sahara-style dunes give way to the cape itself, parts of which are brushy or grassy. Steep precipices abound and careless people have entered the great cape in the sky from this area. I’ve included photos of the view both north and south from the cape. Pacific City, home to the dory fleet, lies on the south side. Dorys come and go and are fun to watch. Incoming, they skid through the waves at high speed and only cut the engine when they reach shallow water, then glide smoothly to a halt on the beach. Running full-speed down the dunes is a blast, except when we tumble and get a head full of sand. Low tide reveals dozens of different creatures making a living off each other on the rocks and in the pools. Last week a couple of whales were spouting off the cape.

low tide under the arch

We plan to camp here again this summer!

a view of Pacific City from the cape

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