Manzanita, Oregon is a small town located on the northern coast of Oregon…
And it has a big piece of my heart!
I’ve always greatly enjoyed the sunny beaches of southern California, but for me, nothing beats the foggy, golden coast-line with just enough of a cool breeze to make a hoodie or jacket the ideal attire.
Manzanita has a popultaion of about 600 residents. During the time I spent in Manzanita (July) it was prime tourist season, and I was able to meet many people from all over the state of Oregon who came to experience this charming town for the weekend.
The main street which leads toward the beach was filled with people walking, visiting shops, and were quite friendly and readily open to conversation.
I camped at the Nehalem Bay State Park, about 1 mile south of Manzanita.
I love how easy it is to camp along with the Oregon Coast, with many “Hiker-Biker” campgrounds which only charge $5 per night for hikers or bikers.
Once morning came I began my day with a shower in their above average facilities (by camping standards) and as I walked by the campsite office I was offered coffee by the park rangers. This was a first experience in camping and I heartily accepted the offer for a little added boost to my mile-long-walk into town. When I arrived to town my initial search, as usually is the case when traveling, was to find a place to order coffee, place my laptop, and communicate with the world via WiFi. This task proved to be a difficult one to accomplish. The local library did provide wireless internet; however, they did not provide any power outlets. Unfortunately for me, my laptop’s battery charge had been fully used the evening prior. I stumbled upon an internet cafe and searched for an employee to discover who to pay in order to use the internet; but only an empty shack was to be found.
I returned to my campsite in anticipation of the sunset.
I walked for several miles south alongside the assuring waves of the ocean, found a secluded log to sit, and prepared myself for ending of the day’s light. As the sun neared its’ complete submersion into the groundlevel of earth, I began walking slowly toward the campgrounds.
As I approached the entrance to the State Park, I found a crowd of people, all gazing in wonder at the magnificent beauty that such an everyday occurence never fails to insprie awe. I’m not sure if I have ever been within a crowd of so many people who were all practicing the art of silence while observing this day’s end.
On my second night of camping at Nehalem Bay State Park, I met a woman who was moving from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco where she would begin a new job as bio-tech researcher. Unlike most people who would be moving 1500+ kilometers, she was making the move on bicycle, while a moving company packed and shipped her things to where she would be living San Francisco. We shared a great conversation about technology, web design, philosophy, and music; before retiring to our respective tent-dwellings.
My two night stay in Manzanita was a small aspect of my two month hike from Los Angeles through Oregon. Although there were sights along the journey where I might say the natural beauty would surpass Manzanita (Big Sur comes to mind), the peace I found and accessibility of seclusive spots to contemplate and simply “be” are what make Manzanita one of my favorite places on earth.
Thank you for reading this story.