“She belonged to a different age, but being so entire, so complete, would always stand up on the horizon, stone-white, eminent, like a lighthouse marking some past stage on this adventurous, long, long voyage, this interminable — this interminable life.”
Author: Virginia Woolf
Traveling the Oregon Coast Highway three miles north of Newport Oregon is one of my favorite places, Yaquina Head. A coastal headland of hard basalt cliffs and coves, it has for an estimated 4,000 years been a place that beckons.
Native Americans, including the Alsea Tribe, came for the mile long access to open sea. An area abundant with game, marine animals, mussels, seals, fish, seaweeds, marine gardens, it was recognized to be a place of of both physical and spiritual renewal. It is said to have been named for the female Native American Chief, Yaquina.
Located at Yaquina Head is the charmer, Yaquina Head Lighthouse .Built 1871-1873, using 370,000 bricks from the Patent Brick Company in San Raphael California to create a ninety three foot, doubled walled, one hundred fourteen iron step spiral climb to the top beauty of a beacon.The tallest Lighthouse in Oregon, the light visible for 19 miles. Chief Lighthouse Keeper, Fayette Crosby first lit the wicks on August 20 of the lard burning fixed white light, with a change to using mineral oil in 1888.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse began to attract many new visitors during and following it’s construction, with the Lighthouse Keepers adding an extra duty in conducting scheduled tours in addition to their maintaining the Lighthouse round the clock.
The Yaquina Head uses its original 1868 French-made, 1st order, Fixed Fresnel lens, Fully automated in 1966, Yaquina Head Lighthouse continues to guide sailors safely using it’s own flash pattern of light a pulsing 2 seconds on, 2 seconds off, 2 seconds on, 14 seconds off, 24 hours a day, a steady reliable method to recognize Yaquina Head from air or offshore. It is delightful to climb up the lighthouse stairs and be able to look at the mechanics of the light.
On clear days, Yaquina Head Lighthouse offers a recharge, stand up straight, realign your spine kind of view of the Pacific Ocean Coastline. It is absolutely the best place to watch Gray Whales. There are ‘summer resident’ who have chosen the Oregon Coast rather than the Berring Sea for summering, December thru January, Grays migrate from the Berring south to Baja Mexico to have sex and birth babies, then March and April they pass by Yaquina back to the Berring. I once was fortunate enough to spend an afternoon viewing twenty one passing Grays, simply a thrill…but so many others have told me of a hundred or more passing by during peak migration season.
Dramatic moods in coastal weather can just as easily offer a visit featuring gray green waves breaking on the lighthouse, with the wind and rain howling about as cathartic, eerie, exhilarating, introspective, sun sets unnoticed into night and the storm continues. Or the sky clears and the sunset dazzles, The Lighthouse steadfast throughout, a sense of safety and calm within.
Ghostly stories abound about Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Sweet Terry and I lived in Oregon for several years, and still have family there. A sentimental visit to Yaquina Head can create an echoing voice perhaps familiar, a glimpse of blonde curls, wrinkled hands grasping a hand sewn angel doll, shiny mary-jane shoes running down spiraling steps and gone to shadow before I can be sure. At play may be imagination, or a once familiar now unrecognized friend, perhaps a memory or glimpse of what is to come? I return to the present through the camera lens. I’m not scared of no ghost.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse. is part of the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, with a first rate Interpretive Center, and tide-pools along the base of the cliffs teaming with colorful creatures and sea gardens for guests to explore. Whether a first time visitor, or frequent apparition, I encourage you to enjoy the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area,
“So that was the Lighthouse, was it? No, the other was also the Lighthouse. For nothing was simply one thing”
― Virginia Woolf,
May each and everyone have a peaceful, joyful and safe week.
Todays Music: ‘Things We Do For Love’ from David Crosby’s new solo album “Lighthouse.”