Westport, Washington

Westport, Washington

What is summer without at least a few days at a beach?  My husband and I took a day trip from Seattle to Westport, Washington.  The Pacific Coast is about a 3-hour drive from our home in the city.  Hours at the beach and nothing to do but watch the waves and clouds, settle down with a good book, enjoy the parade of families and dogs and surfers frolicking in the water, listen to the rhythmic pounding of the breakers and waves lapping at the shore — quintessential summer.  My husband brought back enough fish for supper.  I brought back a few patches of sunburn (yes, I burn even under cloudy skies) and a few good photos.

I do love our ocean beaches.

A patch of blue

A patch of blue

Bluff overlooking the beach at Westport

Bluff overlooking the beach at Westport

Dune path

Dune path

Seagull

Seagull

You never know what you’ll find washed up on the beach.

Sand dollar

Sand dollar

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Some views from the jetty:

Surfers, Westport, WA

Surfers, Westport, WA

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Approaching Great Sand Dunes National Park under threatening skies, with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.

View of the dunes from our campground

“The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a living hourglass where the ebb and flow of rushing wind and pulsing water sweep across the landscape, creating a national sculpture worthy of permanent preservation.”
— Gale A. Norton, Secretary of the Interior, 2004

Great Sand Dunes National Park is our country’s newest national park; it was given national park status in 2004.  It feels like an anomaly in the high mountain landscape.  The shifting piles of sand create beautifully sculpted forms of light and shadow.  I wish we had given ourselves more time to sit and let this special landscape work on our souls:

“One of the qualities that draws me to deserts is their sparseness.  I go to be scoured by their winds, purged by their silence, humbled by their searing sunsets. . . .  As the earth stands naked, so I am stripped to my unadorned self, with little to distance me from the truths of my life.”
— Michael Benanav, Men of Salt

Nearing sunset with hikers still on the dunes

Dunes in the fading evening light

Early morning hikers cast long shadows as they ascend.

Sculpted dunes

Shadows and light

Tracks and ripples

Footprints in the sands of time

“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.”
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from “A Psalm of Life”

“Their appearance was exactly that of the sea in a storm, except as to color, not the least sign of vegetation existing thereon.”
— Zebulon Pike, Journals January 28, 1807