Jesse Murch


Day 3 - Cannon Beach

Theres something freeing about winding through the blackness of night on highways unknown, coming up on small brightly lit towns only to pass through them as quick as they came racing back into the nothingness, it touches our primal sense of needing to explore and see what we haven’t, to conquer our fears of unknown and reach out with brave embrace not knowing what we will find. The destination on the horizon was Cannon beach, if this sounds familiar and it probably does, its because you grew up in the nineties and were entranced by the cult classic movie The Goonies with many of its most known scenes being filmed on Cannon Beach and in the nearby town of Astoria. As we made our way closer and it got harder to keep our eyes from falling shut around this time one of us mentioned getting a hotel for the night and we all quickly agreed knowing it was a far better option then the process of finding a suitable camping site and setting up the tents post midnight, the plan seemed solid and we figured as we got close we would pull up an app and book a room or two. Little did we know that a major convention was taking place on the entire portland coast and upon arrival to the area every hotel was booked solid for the night. Being two in the morning at this point we weighed our options in the dimly lit parking lot of a disappointingly full motel 6, after a few quick minutes we came to the realization that a night spent sleeping in the car was our best option as we had a shoot in the mourning early and realistically would only be sleeping to what would amount to a long nap. We found parking on a back road near a park and took our respective seats for the night and attempted to get some shut eye.

The sun rose early and warmed the car quickly and wasn't long before we had all awoke sweaty and sore, climbing from the vehicle onto the warm pavement of the lot we stretched and took turns comparing whose sleeping spot was worse. Out of sheer luck the spot we had chosen landed us a block from Cannon Beach and the location of the shoot for the day, we changed and splashed water on our faces in a nearby bath house and proceeded to the soft sand of the beach. The tide was low and exposed a massive landscape of sand before us, are feet broke the patterns left by the receding tides as we marched towards haystack rock in the misty distance.Upon approaching the rock we met up with Grace Scuitto ( @gracescuitto ) whom would be modeling for us that morning, Grace is also an incredible photographer so definitely check her out and give her a follow, we had been wanting to shoot in the misty air of the morning ocean but that last remnants of fog burned off as we reached our destination. Working with what we had, which happened to be direct sunlight and not much else we positioned ourselves around haystack rock and began shooting, the beach was alive with people participating in everything from biking and a morning run to playing in the sand and the occasional swimmer. The shoot was pleasant and we were all able to capture some fanatic images of Grace. Upon wrapping of the shoot we decided to go check out a place we had walked past to get to the beach earlier. A crepe shop, small and cozy, sat nestled on the corner and as you walked in the vibes of an old ice cream shop surrounded you. Greeted by a friendly worker we ordered our respective crepes which all had the healthy option of Nutella smothered fruit and sat curb side while eating and conversing. Upon completion of our delicious breakfasts we said our goodbyes and parted ways, before returning to the car and heading off to Portland we noticed a small bush of flowers and had Kayla pose in them for a few shots. 

The drive to Portland was relatively short and within what seemed like no time we found ourselves inside the city limits, quickly finding parking and grabbing our gear and what we would need for the day around town we left the car behind and headed of to find the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts. As we expected there was a line wrapped around the glittery outer walls of the shop but the smell was far to alluring to pass up what was inside in the vain of a little waiting around. Luckily the line moved quickly and once inside we picked out two doughnuts each, paid, and took our neon pink box of sugar fried perfection in front of the immensely photographed “keep portland weird “ sign, moans of sugary bliss and satisfaction erupted from each of us with the first bites, quickly devouring our splendors we got up and walked about the city. Something that was very clear right of the bat was not only was portland filled with trendsetting teens also known as hipsters but the sheer number of homeless was a little alarming, at one point we found ourselves walking through a city of tents and makeshift homes out of pallets and old plywood littered with people just trying to live and survive. Leaving the tent city found us back in the area of our car and we decided that although the doughnuts were amazing we had our fill of the city and longed to be back in the woods once more. After a few minutes searching in the car and discussing our options we chose Ambiqua Falls, it was about two hours from the city but promised a sight you didn't want to miss and adventurous hiking and swimming along the way.

After the highways and small town roads we were led to an open metal gate and a wide dirt road, we made our way through and kept our eyes peeled for a small sign that would direct us toward the falls, within minuets it appeared on our right and we headed down, at first the road was winding and descended slowly but after a few miles we found ourselves on hairpin turns with nothing on one side of the road but a few hundred foot drop into the canopy of some pine trees and a road that resembled more of a dried up stream bed then anything. The jeep bounced and swayed as we climbed down over rock beds. This would go on for about twenty minutes or so before we found the trail head and a small area to pull off and park in. The day was one of the hottest on record for the area so we packed accordingly bringing snacks and plenty of water and sunscreen. The trail winded down a cliff face and had ropes tied in strategic points throughout to help you down the steeper spots, the final section was essentially rock climbing and dropped you off on the side of a wide steadily moving river. We followed the river bed upstream through dense trees and over rocks, all around us we had been swallowed into a ravine whose mossy walls engulfed us, the feeling was surreal as we climbed through what felt like a jungle, rays of sun clawed through any openings they could find in the evergreens warming our skin as we passed through them. As we turned what would be the final corner of the journey the massive falls greeted us with a roar and cooling mist. Photos nor words could do justice to what lay before us, a wide horse shoe of geometrically cut stone split only by the raging waters rose massively into the sky and at its base was a respectable area to swim in and enjoy the cooling waters. We took up space on the rocky shoreline and sat to drink some much needed water and take in the sight, after we had our fill we split off to capture the beauty before us in photos, we photographed and discussed each of our processes with one another. Having our fill of landscape photos and knowing we’d like to shoot more for the designer Kayla adorned the black lace and positioned herself atop an enormous boulder that lay centered in front of the falls, positioning her in contrast to the white of the rushing falls led to an eye catching image and one of my favorites of not just the day but the entire trip. 

Once done with everything photo related Mike and I decided to cool ourselves off before returning to the long trail back to the car, we stripped down to our boxers and slowly began to walk in, the water was cold and invigorating as we submerged ourselves further eventually getting deep enough out to go under fully. The cold dip was successful at two things, the first being to significantly cool us down for the hike and the second showcasing how high pitched we could scream as we jumped in. The hike back was long and hot but we arrived at the car moments before sunset out of breathe and thirsty. The road we had come down on was also the only way out, we thought the way down was nerve racking but we had seen nothing compared to the way up, i took the wheel and wrestled the jeep all the way to the top and back out those metal gates and onto pavement once again. Bend Oregon the home of the Painted Hills was the new destination for tomorrow, but not before picking up some Rainer Beer from a gas station and drinking atop a reservoir in the middle of Oregon watching the sunset, thanks to this the drive to our motel for the night was provided entertainment to Mike and Myself in the form of a less then sober Kayla singing along to all her favorite songs.