The Oregon Coast’s Wild Winter
By John Waller
Imagine yourself standing on an ocean outlook watching waves thunder onto the beach below. It’s a place you can almost feel the exploding wall of water vibrate up through your legs and into your core. A place where rainbows curl from the folding crests of waves on a windy day. A place of vast headlands and expansive beaches where you may be the only person silhouetted against the watercolor serenity of ocean and sky.
This is the Oregon Coast in wintertime.
The Oregon Coast demands attention. Somehow just spending time watching in wonder overcomes any itinerary or agenda. One day as I observed sea foam lightly dancing off the swells at Cook’s Chasm, it struck me that I spend almost no time doing nothing. Because doing nothing is boring and unproductive, right? But then I thought, is it really nothing when you sit quietly with no filter between you and the world around you, or is it everything? The Coast in wintertime expresses itself with a purity and a rugged simplicity that inspires me to do the same. And in that space, I find everything.
Winter. This is the pure, authentic Oregon Coast. It’s the convergence of nature and culture at its best. Wintertime at the Coast is like a grand orchestra and a Broadway show in one endless performance to which you have front row seats. And after the sunset finale, you still find wisdom, depth and inspiration.
I harbor romantic notions of the Oregon Coast in winter. Amid the dramatic weather of this season, a glass of wine tastes more robust, a soft seat by the fire feels more comfortable and a plate of cedar plank salmon more delicious. From above, I can imagine that the entire Oregon coastline is illuminated with bright oases, scattered like embers, where anyone can find perfect sanctuary. With warmth assured, I can step outside and immerse myself in the raw and unpredictable energy of nature.
In college, my best friends and I were religious about our Tuesday night trips to the beach. Some evenings were filled with the music of guitars and bonfires. Others were exhilarating adventures in torrents of wind and rain. We could have gone anywhere, but the energy and backdrop of the ocean seemed most appropriate for our youthful exuberance. It was a reminder that the bonds of friendship and feeling alive were as important, if not more so, than term papers and studying.
I still feel that way about the Coast. It’s a place that I want to be surrounded by those I love. Simple activities like walking an empty beach, perfecting the art of crabmeat extraction or visiting around a fireplace become enduring memories. Perhaps it is the roughness of the weather and landscape that makes me appreciate that companionship even more.
I’ve spent a lifetime of exploring Oregon, but I’m still making new discoveries along the 363 miles of Oregon coastline. And if I’m looking to shed distractions, savor authentic experiences and applaud beautiful natural drama, I know I will find all that and more in wintertime on the Oregon Coast.
To explore the awe-inspiring locations featured in “The Oregon Coast: A Winter Odyssey” video, click here.
Always exercise caution while exploring the beauty of the Oregon Coast. For beach safety tips, click here.
About the Author: John Waller
John Waller helped create “The Oregon Coast: A Winter Odyssey” video. He is a native Oregonian and has dedicated his life to exploring and discovering the natural beauty that the world has to offer. The founder of Uncage the Soul Production, John has spent more than two decades producing and directing films, from commercial shorts to award-winning adventure documentaries.
Photo by Uncage the Soul Video Production