A Science and History lesson

As we all know, many of my discoveries happen when I am on a bike. However, in this instance, I have ridden by the location I am blogging about many times, and had never taken a right turn to check things out. In my defense, most of the time when passing the tiny Town of Neskowin, I have had over 90 miles under my legs and I have a big hill coming up and I just want to get home and eat….

Today, though, Michelle and I went to Neskowin on purpose. We wanted to check out the Ghost Forest near Proposal Rock…

What’s a ghost forest? Well I will let you know in just a bit, but first a bit about Proposal Rock.

Proposal Rock is a giant seastack less than a half mile, as the crow flies, from HWY 101. But because of where the road is, and buildings, I’d never seen it before. You drive by Neskowin, and honestly have no idea the ocean is “just over there.”

Legend has it, a sea-captain in the late 1800s took the love of his life here in his ship and proposed. The mother of the bride, hearing this story, dubbed it Proposal Rock and it stuck! Just by itself it is cool. There is this arch as you get closer to it.

This shot shows you how big it is.

Allegedly, there is a trail/scramble to the top, but you can get trapped by high tide. Not sure I will ever do the climb.

The rock itself would be worth a visit but we were there for the ghost forest!

Ok, now for the Ghost Forest explanation.

Let your mind flow back 2000 years. Back then, if you were walking here, you’d be walking through a forest of Sitka Spruce. Like the one here in my back yard. 

They were a couple of hundred years old and reach to the sky.

Then, one day a huge earthquake hits, and the forest level dropped well below where it was. (I am kinda wondering if the top of Proposal Rock seen above was the forest level back then. )Then, along came a tsunami, killing, and covering the trees. Where once was a lush forest, was now beach and water.



When Neskowin was founded and houses built the beach would have looked similar to this.

Then along came the winter of 1997-98, which, from what I read, was VERY stormy. So stormy, that it sucked a ton of sand off the beach and uncovered these! (Notice the barnacles on top of this stump showing how hight the tide gets)

These are all trees that were buried and are now seeing the light of day thousands of year later. They are not petrified. Now, those above may not look like trees but some do.

Now these only appear at majorly low tides. It just so happened today was a minus tide at 8 AM. So we were up and moving to get there in time. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that they would be home to sea life.

One stump had a tide pool in it.

There were chitons on the side of stumps

And more starfish than I have seen since we’ve moved here.

We were far from the only people there. I very much enjoyed seeing the little kids who were running around pointing out starfish to their parents. The science geek in me warmed to hear their excitement.

To out pleasant surprise, even though it was a foggy morning


There was no wind at all, and in fact it was pleasantly warm. We were running around with out coats, in shorts and quite comfy.

When you look on line, the recommendation is to check it out during the winter months when (news to me here) the coast has its lowest tides of the year. Luckily for us, there was a very low tide on Sunday morning is August. Evidently, there are other ghost forests up and down the coast.

In fact, I didn’t know it, but I had been to at least a ghost tree, this giant redwood stump at Waldport south of us.

The longer we are here, the more we discover. I love the fact Michelle is a science geek like I am and will indulge me when I want to check things out like this. Even when it requires setting an alarm on a Sunday morning to catch a low tide.

Makes me wonder what the next discovery will be.


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