Experiencing the Oregon Coast

I just had my thirty-fourth birthday. Now, some people, for their birthdays, throw parties or go out to their favorite restaurant, but last year, I instituted a new tradition of spending my birthday with a group of my good friends in the Pacific Northwest. In my opinion, there’s just no better way to spend your birthday than to hang out in your favorite place, with your favorite people and I have to tell you that it was a fabulous weekend!

One of the highlights of every trip is that my friend, Cari Gesch, who is an amazing photographer and an ambassador for Ask Oregon, kidnaps me and takes me to see her favorite selected bits of her corner of the world.

Now that we’ve been out on four of her little adventures, I’ve learned that her favorite selected bits are pretty breathtaking. When we began planning this birthday trip, she asked me for two days and then refused to tell me anything about it except to pack a coat, my walking shoes, and a camera.

We packed up her 11 year old and her five year old, and headed out through the mountains. Knowing Cari as I do, I wasn’t surprised when our first stop was a waterfall.

You know what I’ve learned about waterfalls from Cari? I’ve learned that you haven’t really experienced a waterfall until you feel the spray in your face. Despite the fact that there was a little snow on the ground, I didn’t hesitate to get a faceful of mist from Fern Rock Creek Falls. (That’s in Tillamook County, Oregon.)

On our drive through the mountains, we had some drizzle. I was afraid it was going to rain all day, but as we came out of the mountains, into Tillamook, Oregon, we found that the rain wasn’t going to stick around. And it left a rainbow behind for us.

You know that when you’re traveling, you have to stop to sample the goodies along the way. Cari had something in store for me. Most folks make a beeline for Tillamook Cheese Factory when they go to Tillamook. We did wander through there—and enjoyed it. But we stopped first at Blue Heron French Cheese Company. I think I fell a little in love.

As a country girl, how could I not love a store that looks like a freshly-painted barn? Inside, I got to sample my first brie, and I fell in love all over again! And when we came back outside to stretch our legs and I saw the old tractors, I just felt like I was at home, in The Gut, all over again.

And then, Cari unveiled her big plan:

My very first view of the Pacific Ocean.

I was in awe. Literally, speechless.

We ambled down the trail and took a look at Cape Meares Lighthouse (which is way different from the NC lighthouses I am used to).

Now, some folks, at this point, would have said that we’d had a nice day and should head back to the city. But not us! Cari surprised me by renting us a cozy little cabin on the beach. We moved in and then headed down to the beach so that I could touch Pacific sand and see it all up close.

I know there are some who wonder what’s the big deal about seeing the Pacific, especially when you’ve seen the Atlantic. There’s not a big difference, right? There was a big difference. I can’t even explain it, but I sat on that barnacle-covered log above and cried into the ocean. And then, I sang to it. Yes. Really. It seemed like the right thing to do, so I did.

That night, I slept to the sound of the Pacific Ocean crashing against the sand. It was more amazing than I have words to express. I was more relaxed than I’ve been in longer than I can remember. I actually forgot that the rest of the world even existed.  And when I woke up the next morning and pulled the curtain back, I wondered for a moment if I had wandered into Heaven.

I can’t wait to go back—especially with my wonderful friend.

All photos shared here were taken by the author. 

About Sarah Salter


  1. Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing your trip that Cari blessed you with. You deserved every minute of it. She is so talented….pictures are breath-taking!!! And the way you talked about the waterfall spraying your face…felt like I was there! (and I got a little teared up when you were crying at the ocean)

    Love you!


  2. I think my favorite picture is the rainbow that God blessed you with!!! 🙂

  3. Sarah Salter says:

    Mary, thank you!! And she is very talented, but these pics were all taken by me. I’ll share some of hers another time. 🙂

  4. It was such an honor to be with you when you got your first ever views of the Pacific! Thank you for letting me kidnap you. Now to plan how I will out do myself for your next trip!

  5. Wow, I love your descriptions. And falling asleep to crashing waves is one of my most favorite things ever. Glad you had a good trip!

  6. Sarah Salter says:

    Cari, one of these days, you’re going to have to let me kidnap you and take you somewhere!! 🙂

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Thank you, Margo! It was just beyond amazing! I couldn’t have imagined or planned a more perfect outting!

  8. Tears are splashing down my face. I know what you mean about seeing the Pacific. What a beautiful adventure, wrapped in wonderful friendships, and simply amazing views.

  9. Sarah Salter says:

    Sarah Bee, one day, you’re going to share it all with us!! I look forward to that day! 🙂

  10. Great pics, Sarah! And what an amazing way to celebrate. Happy birthday!

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