12.11.2010,11:26 PM
Oregon, Ho!: Bridges, Sea Stacks and Letting Go

Oregon has some fine bridges. Over bays, rivers, creeks, gorges, waterfalls... They are everywhere. Two of my favorites are those in Newport, over the Yaquina Bay, and in Florence, further south on the Coast. And the most photogenic.

If anyone visiting the Oregon coast can stop and imagine how it was like before Hwy 101 was built.... Navigation was mostly by boat, from the rivers that empty into the ocean, dirt roads, some of them dangerous, as they followed the cliff lines and over the many streams, and ferries. Lots of ferries. Now, with the paved road that was in many places blasted through basalt, there is the long winding Hwy 101.

The two bridges mentioned above bear design and architecture of Art Deco. Not surprising since they were built in the 1930's. They are majestic and picturesque, and they've been well taken care of. Not the Gothic arches below the bridge. It all reminds me of Batman's Gotham City. And the detail is exquisite.

After crossing the Yaquina Bay, we headed south. As we did, the misty day turned into light drizzle. But it was still nice to enjoy the coast. We stopped at one of the many state parks on the coast. Here was a perfect example of the many types of geology that formed the western edge of the Pacific Northwest.

These monolithic landforms, called sea stacks, are remnants of volcanic eruptions that were sometimes 300 or more miles away. During the millions of years of tectonic activity, several eruptions in Central and Eastern Oregon spewed lava flows that reached the coastline. The Coastal Range was also a line of small volcanoes.

Where the coastline is today was once a reef bed way out in the ocean. While the Pacific Ocean plate was plunging underneath the continental plate (subjection zone), ocean floors, along with its reef beds and underwater volcanoes, merged with the coastline of the north west. Thus the coastline was (and still is) changing.

With many feet of hard basalt on top of softer sedimentary rock, and the basalt from lava that leaked from feeder tubes under the earth's mantle, millions of years of wave erosion has carved out the softer rock. Eroded material is deposited below, but the more resistant basalt still stands forming these monoliths.

We got to see some of the wave action as the tide came in. Lots of power in those waves slamming into the rocks.

The ocean reminds me of Big Bend: the juxtaposition of power and beauty.

Although the weather was overcast and drizzly, we enjoyed it anyway.

And I got to indulge in some prime photo taking.

We even stopped in Waldport to have some Tillimook ice cream.

It was home after that, along the winding road that passes by the ranch where I lived, in the eastern foothills of the coastal range. We drove down the gravel road to see what has become of the ranch. I was speechless....it's been trashed. All those years and hard work, the fruit trees, berry patches, the clean pastures, long fence lines, the big garden, the flowers lining the roadside fence........ mostly gone or overgrown. Even the new barn is showing signs of neglect. It wasn't what I left behind.

In a big way, it broke my heart to see it like this. But in another, it was a closure. It was time to let go; I finally was able to let it go. Nothing of myself was left there anymore.


posted by Macrobe
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