Today, while the rest of my new friends drive away from Silver Falls State Park in a coach that will deposit them at Portland’s airport, I get picked up from the park by René and Minal.
As we drive toward the coast, the light continues to shift and change; one moment the sunshine is bright, while the next, clouds bunch up in purple clots between hills and trees.
I wake up from a catnap when René veers toward the skyline. He’s chasing after a massive rock jutting out from the approaching shoreline.
The exit signs on Highway 101 read “Pacific City” and I find that my phone is connected, so I google the city. That’s how we learn about Chief Kiawanda Rock that’s named after the chief of the Nestugga (aka Nestucca), whose descendents are members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. In many ways, the Oregon coastline is more raw than what I’ve experienced in California and certainly, Chief Kiawanda Rock bears memories of stolen histories and the devastation of a people. We walk up the sand-dune and then return back to our car. This is a place that we will visit again.
Later, after checking in at our hotel at Otter Creek – a small enclave along the southern Oregon Pacific coast – we head to the water. Undeterred by the 100+ steep steps to the small beach, we descend to find ourselves alone on the sand inhaling cold sea air.