The coast of southern Oregon is stunning. Like slam on your brakes and swerve off the road to stare with your jaw open stunning.
We arrived here after bidding a reluctant farewell to the enchanting coast redwood forests of northern California. As soon as we crossed the border into Oregon on Highway 101, the transformation of the landscape was dramatic.
We had grown accustomed to California’s remaining coast redwood stands where height is measured in hundreds of feet. In contrast, the Douglas firs standing shoulder to shoulder along the Oregon highway seem stunted despite their fifty-foot stature. What they lack in relative height, however, they make up for in sheer quantity and near-military uniformity. Breaks in these formations provide glimpses of the stunning vistas that induce the brake-slamming reaction I described above.
From cliff tops, it’s apparent that the forest and the sea are in the grips of an epic battle. This clash of elementals plays out as battalions of trees and stone march down from their heights to engage the ocean in a long-standing, slow motion border dispute. As a newcomer to this scene, it’s hard to know who’s winning.
Here, it seems ocean force was thwarted as its incursion on the forest has only enabled the enemy to surround it.
There, a forest cavalry atop their rocky mounts waded too deep into enemy territory, and now they’re being held captive at sea.
Forest casualties from offensive waves wash up on the shore in the no man’s land of the beach.
Whatever the ultimate outcome of this struggle, the scene is incredibly dramatic.