YACHATS, Ore. — Everyone told us it was spectacular. But as we drove down the Oregon coast after crossing over the wide Columbia River, “spectacular” was hard to find. It always seemed just out of sight — maybe somewhere behind those gray buildings or down that road on the right toward the ocean.
“Go to Cannon Beach,” several people recommended when we asked for advice. So we exited Route 101, the Oregon Coast Highway, and drove to the town of Cannon Beach, where a mob of tourists thronged the sidewalks and circled around town in their cars looking for parking spots. After finding one, we walked past restaurants, espresso shops, and stores that sold T-shirts and crafts, past beachside hotels and rentals. All of us in search of “spectacular” walked on the wide sand beach to Haystack Rock, one of the most photographed sights on the coast. We saw it, photographed it, and walked back along the sidewalks crowded with people, among them a young man, bent over his smartphone, who said — whether to a friend or his phone, I’m not sure — “Where’s the rock?”