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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Haystack Rock, Oregon"
Includes ... Haystack Rock ... The Needles ... Cannon Beach ...
Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock as seen from Cannon Beach, Oregon. Day overcast and drizzle. Tillamook Head is in the right background. Image taken June 28, 2010.


Haystack Rock ...
Haystack Rock is a large 235-feet-high basalt sea stack located at Cannon Beach, Oregon. It is protected as a sanctuary for birds and marine creatures. Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants, and Western Gulls nest on the rock.

Captain Clark looked upon Haystack Rock from Tillamook Head in January 1806, but did not single it out.

"... I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance ..."
[Clark, January 8, 1806, while at Tillamook Head]

The USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) lists "Inspiration Point" as an early name for Haystack Rock.

"The name Haystack Rock refers to a prominent monolith on Cannon Beach, which for many years has been a popular and favorite landmark. It very much resembles a haystack, hence its name. But the names Haystack Rock and Inspiration Point have been used for the same point on the Cape Falcon map (USCE, 1937). Field investigation failed to find any evidence that the name Inspiration Point is known locally."


Source:    William W. Proksch, Party Chief, Champ C. Myers, Project Engineer, January 15, 1958, U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) database, 2016.


Views ...

Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock as seen from road above Cannon Beach, Oregon. One of The Needles is just visible on the left. Day overcast and drizzle. Image taken June 28, 2010.
Image, 2010, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach, heading towards Haystack Rock. Image taken July 14, 2010.
Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


Haystack Rock Geology ...
Fifteen million years ago large fissure eruptions occurred near Lewiston, Idaho, sending massive volumes of lava across eastern Washington and down the early Columbia River valley. These lava flows created layers upon layers of basalt reaching hundreds of feet in thickness. Collectively these lava flows are known as the Columbia River Basalts. Some of these flows poured into the Pacific Ocean and spread out through the soft marine sediments for dozens of miles. In some spots (such as Haystack Rock), these flows re-erupted through thousands of feet of mud onto the sea floor, essentially having their own eruptive centers. These lavas then cooled to become solid basalt. Millions of years later as the Coast Range lifted, so did these massive flows. Erosion took over creating such headlands as Tillamook Head and sea stacks such as Haystack Rock.

"Haystack Rock is a large sea stack eroded from a re-eruptive center of Ginkgo pillow basalt and breccia, invasive feeder dikes and sills, and baked sediment ripped up off the Miocene deep seafloor. ...

Haystack Rock is an erosional remnant of a small submarine eruptive center or complex of Frenchman Springs pillow lava and breccia on the middle Miocene deep seafloor. The adjacent slender sea stacks (called The Needles) are also part of the bifurcating feeder peperite dikes and some breccias. The chemistry of this basalt corresponds to the Frenchman Springs Member of the Wanapum Basalt (Neel, 1976). The submarine pillow breeccia has a paleomagnetic direction similar to the Basalt of Ginkgo elsewhere in the Coast Range."

Source:    Wells, R.E., et.al., 2009, "The Columbia River Basalt Group -- From the Gorge to the Sea, IN: O'Connor, J.E., et.al., "Volcanoes to Vineyards: Geologic Field Trips Through the Dynamic Landscape", The Geological Society of America.


Scenic ...

Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cannon Beach, The Needles, and Haystack Rock. Image taken July 14, 2010.


Birds ...
Haystack Rock is protected as a sanctuary for birds and marine creatures. Tufted Puffins, Pigeon Guillemots, Pelagic Cormorants, Common Murre, and Western Gulls nest on the rock.

Image, 2010, Haystack Rock, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Gulls, Puffins, Murres, and Cormorant, Haystack Rock, Oregon. Day overcast and drizzle. Image taken June 28, 2010.


The Needles ...
Immediately to the south of Haystack Rock lie The Needles, two large protruding rocks.

Image, 2010, The Needles, Haystack Rock, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Needles, south of Haystack Rock, as seen from Cannon Beach, Oregon. Day overcast and drizzle. Image taken June 28, 2010.
Image, 2010, The Needles, Cannon Beach, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
The Needles, Cannon Beach, Oregon. Image taken July 14, 2010.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, January 8, 1806 ...
The last night proved fair and Cold wind hard from the S. E. we Set out early and proceeded to the top of the mountain [Tillamook Head] next to the which is much the highest part and that part faceing the Sea is open, from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N. E. the coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment [Cape Disappointment, Washington] as far as I could See to the N. W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me [Clatsop Beach, also referred to as Clatsop Plains, comprised of Sunset Beach and Columbia Beach. This area today is the location of Seaside, Oregon], the meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the high Country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence distance to the S. E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore [such as Haystack Rock] and against which the Seas brak with great force gives this Coast a most romantic appearance. from this point of View [Tillamook Head] my guide pointed to a village at the mouth fo a Small river [Ecola Creek] near which place he Said the whale was, he also pointed to 4 other places where the princpal Villages of the Kil la mox were Situated, I could plainly See the houses of 2 of those Villeges & the Smoke of a 3rd which was two far of for me to disern with my naked eye ... after taking the Courses and computed the Distances in my own mind, I proceeded on down a Steep decent to a Single house the remains of an old Kil a mox Town in a nitch imediately on the Sea Coast, at which place great no. of eregular rocks are out and the waves comes in with great force. ... The Coast in the neighbourhood of this old village is slipping from the Sides of the high hills, in emence masses; fifty or a hundred acres at a time give way and a great proportion of an instant precipitated into the Ocean.     those hills and mountains are principally composed of a yellow Clay; their Slipping off or Spliting assunder at this time is no doubt Caused by the incessant rains which has fallen within the last two months.     the mountains Covered with a verry heavy Croth of pine & furr, also the white Cedar or arbor vita and a Small proportion of the black alder, this alder grows to the hight of Sixty or Seventy feet and from 2 to 3 feet in diamiter. Some Speies of pine on the top of the Point of View [Tillamook Head] rise to the emmence hight of 210 feet and from 8 to 12 feet in diameter, and are perfectly Sound and Solid.     Wind hard from the S. E and See looked [blank] in the after part of the Day breaking with great force against the Scattering rocks at Some distance from Shore [possibly those at the base of Ecola Point, Ecola State Park], and the ruged rockey points under which we were obleged to pass and if we had unfortunately made one false Stet we Should eneviateably have fallen into the Sea and dashed against the rocks in an instant, fortunately we passed over 3 of those dismal points and arived on a butifull Sand Shore on which we Continued for 2 miles [Cannon Beach], Crossed a Creek [Ecola Creek] 80 yards near 5 Cabins, and proceeded to the place the whale had perished, found only the Skelleton of this monster on the Sand between 2 of the villages of the Kil a mox nation; the Whale [Historians believe it was the Blue Whale] was already pillaged of every valuable part by the Kil a mox Inds. in the vecinity of whose village's it lay on the Strand where the waves and tide had driven up & left it.     this Skeleton measured 105 feet.     I returned to the village of 5 Cabins on the Creek which I shall call E co-la or whale Creek [today known as Ecola Creek], found the nativs busily engaged boiling the blubber, which they performed in a large Squar wooden trought by means of hot Stones; ...





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    "BeachConnection.net" website, 2013; McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland; O'Connor, J.E., et.al., "Volcanoes to Vineyards: Geologic Field Trips Through the Dynamic Landscape", The Geological Society of America. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2010.

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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July 2013