180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Of Geology and of
Ghosts: Scary Tales of the Oregon Coast
|Various ghost tales inhabit the Nehalem Bay area
(Oregon Coast) – There are plenty of stories about
things that go bump in the night around coastal beaches, lighthouses and
even bars. The stories literally go on and on, with varying degrees of
There is something much scarier than those ghosties and
beasties, however. The reality of how these beaches acquired many of their
landmarks is a truly freaky tale.
Stories of spirits may or may not be true, but they’re
certainly fun to indulge in.
Truth, however, is far, far stranger than fiction –
especially when you’re talking about the geologic freakzone that
formed Oregon and its coast many millions of years ago.
Scary Rivers of Lava on the Coast
|Cannon Beach's landmark Haystack Rock was made from an underground
re-eruption that came from another lava flow
Picture this: a massive river of lava erupts in Idaho,
so big it covers miles at a time as it marches along at around 4 mph.
It sears entire forests into ashes and fumes. It builds gigantic damns
of molten rock that are perhaps miles long, sometime bulging up to 20
feet high. It marches its way through riverbeds and canyons, snaking its
way around mountains, until it slithers its sinister, scorching heat into
the ocean – having traveled some 300 miles, about seven days later.
It’s hundreds of miles long, spewing out continuously and fiercely
so that when it reaches the ocean it fills crevices and muddy areas thousands
of feet deep.
Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
like this in Cannon Beach in our lifetimes. Rare, premiere ocean
front location; handsome, dramatic architecture and tasteful, fun
(nostalgic) beach interiors. Overlooks Haystack Rock. 100 percent
smoke free. Imaginative special occasion packages. Massive wood
burning lobby fireplace. Library w/ fireplace, stocked with impressive
book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
rooms. DVD players, complimentary movies. Morning paper. Warm cookies.
888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
This was the scene in Oregon some 15 million years ago,
and it was the beginning of the birth of many of the incredible structures
and tourist attractions you now see on the scenic Oregon coast. A colossal
fissure in the Earth around where Lewiston, Idaho is now poured these
horrendous flows into this area. It’s the same hot spot that now
powers Yellowstone National Park, and has before created the mega-disastrous
super volcanoes that have erupted a few times over the millennia.
|Cape Fouweather, which towers over the sea, came from an eruption
100's of miles long
The coast at that time was about 15 miles farther inland
than it is now. According to Seaside geologist Tom Horning, sometimes
these lava flows poured into the ocean and then they spread out through
the soft marine sediments for dozens of miles, burrowing into the layers.
They then managed to come back up elsewhere, re-erupting through thousands
of feet of muck, onto the sea floor, essentially making their own eruptions
for a brief time (geologically speaking).
They then cooled to become solid basalt. Over millions of years, some
of these massive invasions of lava were lifted with the sediments above
sea level with the rising of the coast range. They in turn were eroded
away, until they formed headlands and features we now know as Neahkahnie
Mountain near Manzanita or Tillamook Head between Seaside and Cannon Beach.
Another kind of lava flow that formed the headlands we
know and love is called intra-canyon flows. These kind of flows snaked
their way to the coast through riverbeds and around other land features,
arriving at the coast to build up and up out of deltas of rubbly submarine
pillow basalt. These were also capped by sheets of dry-land lava flows.
|Seaside's Tillamook Head is a distant relative of the super volcano
that destroyed the atmosphere millions of years ago, and of the fissure
that now powers Yellowstone's geysers
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Meanwhile, the ocean levels rose and fell around the landmasses
and basalt shapes a few times. They too were eroded by time and water
into shapes we now know as Cape Foulweather, Cape Lookout, Yaquina Head
and Cape Meares.
Numerous such lava flows (perhaps around 300) erupted from
about 12 million years ago to 17 million years ago, according Horning.
They happened approximately every 100,000 to 200,000 years, creating their
own kind of havoc, but in turn laying the groundwork (pun intended) for
the beauty we now see.
Meanwhile, millions of years earlier, Cascade Head was
its own volcano, said Horning of the large, looming headland just north
of Lincoln City. And what about those mini-eruptions that happened just
offshore? Horning said they’re often responsible for many of the
coast’s most famous landmarks.
“Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach was one of those,”
Horning said. “Sea stacks are often from submarine feeders for the
re-erupting lavas. They’re all part of plumbing systems.”
|Much of Depoe Bay is bubble basalt - where a massive
lava flow hit the ocean water and cooled quickly
Erosion also plays a major part in what you see with that
famous structure (which is currently the third highest sea stack in the
world), along with the oceans rising, falling and the land doing the same.
“The basalt that Haystack Rock is made of is about
15 million years old,” Horning said. “It was an enormous hill
of rock until about 3000 years ago, when rising sea levels allowed the
surf to wash away all but the strongest lava/basalt. Some 4000 to 5000
feet of the original submarine volcano is missing from it now, having
been eroded for more than 12 millions years.”
Ghosts of the Oregon Coast
|What lurks upstairs in the Seaside Aquarium - if anything? (photo:
Tiffany Boothe, Seaside Aquarium)
There’s a scary side to Seaside.
Example one: the Seaside
Aquarium may have a closet containing something - or rather, an upstairs
that could be haunted. When the building was a natatorium back about 80
years ago, there were apartments at the top floor. They actually were
in use until the early 70’s. That area isn't used much at all now,
but some employees there say they’ve heard whispers over the years
the top floor is haunted. Various stories have been handed down through
the generations about noises coming from there.
City Vacation Homes
Something for everyone: smaller homes
with a view to a large house that sleeps 15. All are either oceanfront
or just a few steps away – all with a low bank access and
fantastic views. Most are in the Nelscott area; one is close to
the casino. You’ll find a variety of goodies: fireplaces,
multiple bedrooms, dishwashers, Jacuzzis, washer/dryers, hot tubs,
cable TV, VCR, barbecues; there’s a loft in one, and another
sprawling home has two apartments. Pets allowed in some homes
– ask first. Each comes with complete kitchens. Most have
seventh night free. Prices range from winter $85 to summer $230
per night. www.getaway2thecoast.com.
Talk to staff at Girtle’s Restaurant and Lounge downtown
and you’ll hear tales of flying coffee pots, shadows of someone
walking in what are empty rooms and apparitions appearing periodically.
The rumor is that the old Seaside Hotel collected a long list of lingering
souls in its 100-year-long history. When it was torn down in the 80’s,
many of the spirits followed staff there when they went to work for Girtle’s.
Down in Wheeler, the Old Wheeler Hotel has plenty of haunted
tales, enough that a few ghost hunters have sauntered through there over
the years. Owner Winston Laszlo has had some experiences he can’t
explain, and he and his wife tell strange tales of how the building seemed
“fight” them as it was being remodeled. (www.oldwheelerhotel.com.
877-653-4683.) Also in the bay area, locals talk about the lady who actually
got a permit in the 90’s to burn down her own property. She was
apparently a descendent of local tribes and claimed the home was haunted
by spirits of native children killed in a fire in that spot centuries
|Heceta Head Lighthouse's ghostly tale has many witnesses
Nothing sits in that spot to this day.
Further south, in Lincoln City, the North Lincoln Fire
Station is said to have an apparition lounging in the recreation area.
The Wildflower Grill has tales of a butt-pinching ghost named Matilda.
The Siletz Bay has some crazy stories about a ghost ship appearing and
are often the subject of haunted tales, and the Oregon coast certainly
isn’t left out of that category. All but one of them have been clearly
debunked. The haunting at Heceta Head Lighthouse, near Florence, is widely
regarded as a real one, with loads of witnesses. Even the family that
runs the B&B there claims to have seen the ghost and considers her
part of the family.
Beings from beyond are not nearly as frightening as lawsuits
or folks from Hollywood – and that’s what the Yaquina Head
Lighthouse had to deal with back in the 70’s. The film crew for
“The Hardy Boys” TV series came out there to film on location
for a special Halloween episode, and even gussied up the interior of the
lighthouse with cobwebs and other spooky accoutrements.
The problem is they left the set décor there,
essentially leaving the lighthouse a shambles. It took a lawsuit by local
authorities to get the crew to come back and clean it up.
Beach Rentals, Lincoln City. Perfect for large family
vacations all the way down to a getaway lodging for two - with
over 25 vacation rental homes to choose from. A breathtaking collection
of craftsman or traditional beachfront homes, or oceanview houses
– from one to seven bedrooms. In various areas of Lincoln
City and overlooking the beach, with some in Depoe Bay. All kinds
of amenities are available, like hot tubs, decks, BBQ, rock fireplaces,
beamed ceilings and more. Some are new, some are historic charmers.
Lincoln City, Oregon. 1-(503)-232-5984. www.a1beachrentals.com.
Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
rugged stretch between Cannon Beach and Manzanita known as Arch
Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
decks, and fire pits or barbecues. Call about tempting winter specials
that go until March (not valid holidays, however). www.archcaperentals.com
Sands Condominium Motel, Lincoln City. Free, fresh baked
cookie upon check-in is just the start. All rooms beachfront and
up against Lincoln City's most famous stretch of beach: the D River.
Each room comes as a suite or mini-suite, and has a kitchen and
balcony or patio. Some w/ gas fireplaces, while all have a DVD Players;
movies to rent come with free popcorn. Heated indoor pool, a spa,
and this fabulous beach is lit at night. Rooms sleep from two, four
to six - including a deluxe fireplace suite. Gift certificates orspecial
occasion packages. www.dsandsmotel.com.
171 S.W. Highway 101. 800-527-3925.
Paradise Suites & Vacation Rentals - Seaside
Unique Luxury Accommodations in Seaside. 1BR Suites,
1BR & 2BR Duplex Units and 3BR Houses, units for 2-8 people.
Rent entire property for 20-26. Close to beach, river and Broadway
Suites are designed for two adults; vacation rental units for families.
All units have kitchen and many have fireplace, deck and jetted
tub. Comfy robes, slippers, luxury bath amenities, quality linens
and more. 741 S. Downing St., Seaside. 800-738-6691. www.SeasideSuites.com
Rockaway Beach. All rooms are immaculate and have TV’s, VCR’s
and in-room phones w/ data ports. Oceanfronts have queen bed, a
double hide-a-bed, kitchen, cozy firelog fireplace and private deck.
Both types sleep up to four people. Others are appointed for a two-person
romantic getaway, yet still perfect for those on a budget. Elaborate
oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
reunions or large gatherings such as weddings, some rooms can connect
to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
523 N. Pacific St., Rockaway Beach. (503) 355-2112 - 1-800-824-0938.
at Cannon Beach. Beautifully wooded natural setting at quiet south
end of Cannon Beach. Great during winter storms with a new book by
the fireplace – or when the sun is out for family fun and beach
strolling. Handsome beach cottage-style architecture. Lush flowering
gardens and naturalized courtyard pond. Warm, inviting guest rooms.
Continental buffet breakfast. Warm Cookies. Family and Pet Friendly.
Welcome gifts. Smoke-free. Complimentary Wireless Connectivity. Wine
and book signing events. 800-321-6304 or 503-436-9085. Hemlock At
Surfcrest, Cannon Beach, Oregon. www.atcannonbeach.com.
for Freaky, Creepy Mole Crabs on Oregon Coast Beaches The
little critters make the tideline bubble and feel really weird as they
run across your feet
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
Coast Lodging Specials
BeachConnection.net's 1,000 pages
Coast Real Estate
Things to Do
Beach, Oregon Lodging
Wheeler, Rockaway Beach Lodging
Beach Complete Guide
City Complete Guide
Oregon Complete Guide
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia
meets the Pacific, Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of
atmosphere & history
Tillamook Head, family fun & broad, sandy beaches
lighthouse, upscale yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries
& an art mecca
beaches, Nehalem and Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Barview, Bay City, Tillamook & an oceanfront ghost town
secret of the coast: Cape Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside,
Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn
downtown, freaky hidden cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix
of the rugged & upscale
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles
and miles of fluffy dunes