Vintage: Zach, Bear, Daniel and Amy at Ecola State Beach 1991

On the beach


Have you been to Ecola State Beach in Oregon? Back in the day {1991} there was a parking lot at the top where you walked down a ragged dirt trail until you got to the beach. That trail is gone now. I don’t think you can access this beach anymore. 

 It is an amazing place, to understate it. The beach is as wide as a walmart parking lot and the surf thunders way out in the water and grinds itself into whitewater as far as you can see standing on the beach looking out. The coast line curves seductively southward pointing to the magnificent haystack rock in Cannon Beach 6 miles off. 

We used to take our family vacations there, although because I was one of the oldest in my family we didn’t start these vacations until I was 13. The first time I saw the ocean we pulled the old yellow van up to the parking lot in Cannon Beach, Oregon and I scrambled up the dunes for my first glimpse. My sister Charity wept at the sight. 

My brother Jake and I found two slabs of plywood leaning up against our vacation rental house and dragged them to the beach to “surf”. We were in our swimming suits. The water was probably in the low 50’s. I remember seeing Jake standing there with his plywood shivering. He was only 9. His body turned a ghostly shade of purple. He was a good brother to have. 

One camping trip in 1991 we arose at dawn after a night of furious rainstorms. My Dad put everyone in the van who wasn’t still asleep and we drove the winding road to Ecola State beach. The tide was remarkably low. Zach and my cousins Jeremy, Daniel and Amy went berserk running around the tide pools. I have a photo of Zach holding a starfish that is as big as his head. The withered crab in the pool in front of these four became Jeremy’s little friend. Jeremy was saddened because my Dad wouldn’t let him bring it back home with him in the van.


  1. your commentary made me LOL! Jake a ghastly shade of purple…charity crying at the sight….crab in the van…. And a little melancholy cuz I didn’t (for whatever reason) see this beach! remember when the wheels fell off the van during one of those trips…oh the memories!

  2. Ahhh, see I might not have told you that I grew up in Portland and we made many, many trips to Cannon Beach to stay in a Hungarian woman’s rental houses (Mrs. Majowski). I too have memories of picking up starfish and when they used to let you climb all over the lower portion of Haystack Rock and we’d bring home all kinds of sea creatures. I love how it would take forever to get your legs used to the freezing cold water and you’d have to inch your way in until you were up to your waist. Fun memories!

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