Seaside Stories

Find a Beach Path Less Traveled By

October 6, 2013 | by Jon Rahl

Picture this: A bright blue, sun-filled, 70-degree day on an early October Saturday, mere days removed from one of the fiercest fall storms to ever hit Oregon’s North Coast (at least in September). Are you envisioning scores of people flocking to the beach? Many would, and in most cases, depending on where you looked, you’d probably be right.

The classic Seaside spots generally attract a pretty large contingent of beach-goers when the weather is this nice. You know the places: Broadway, the Turnaround and the expansive sandy beaches in front, and on either side, of the Turnaround. But on this day – with about two hours to relax on my own – I head to the northern tip of the famous Promenade, located at 12th Avenue. There are about 10-12 cars in the parking lot so I find a spot and roll the windows down while I finish some reading I wanted to get done.

After putting the wraps on a fascinating article about Steve Jobs, I decide it’s time to hit the nearby dune grass which makes this section of the beach a far different picture than that of its friends to the south – especially in front of the Turnaround. Once you’ve left the Promenade, the pathways darting through the dune grass almost seem endless. They jet left, right and zigzag, depending on your exact location, in numerous directions. The slight drop in elevation has actually put the ocean out of sight for a few moments. It’s kind of crazy, but you’re suddenly staring at grassy trails that instantly create this feeling of solitude.

As I select my path of choice, I’m walking southwest toward the water now, I know that I’m close to the ocean but it’s absent from my line of sight. Suddenly, because of the lift in the dunes, the water appears. Although people are near, I have at least 200-300 meters from me to the nearest person in any direction. I see a young couple, kites fluttering above the low tide and a family walking hand in hand. There are beach bikes, lawn chairs and a row of razor clam enthusiasts seeking out fresh bounty, just four days into the new clam season. What a treat they are receiving. Low tides just before 5 p.m. and short-sleeve weather just steps from the salty water.

Beyond them, a man bobs in the cold Pacific surf and a little north of him another man runs on the high tide line while his dog trails close behind. In the far distance I also see what appears to be the early makings of a bonfire, something that will surely line the beach in numbers on this fine evening in the making.

I stood alone for 10-15 minutes just taking it all in with hardly a hint of wind. It was truly an amazing afternoon and it reminded me that this 1.5-mile, 100-year-old Promenade is filled with an endless supply of oceanfront beauty that can very easily bring adventuresome solitude, even on a busy, and very sunny Saturday afternoon.

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