Seagull

Seagull

Great blue heron

Great blue heron

Duck

Duck

 

Seagulls on the beach at Bandon, OR

Seagulls on the beach at Bandon, OR

The final stretch of our road trip took us along the Oregon Coast from Bandon to Astoria.  Every Pacific coast beach seems unique in some way — different from its neighbors near or far away.  Part of our drive took us through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, giving us a taste of a landscape with high, wind-sculpted dunes.

Here are some photos from our drive along Highway 101 in Oregon:

Evening arrival in Bandon, Oregon -- fog banks and gray

Evening arrival in Bandon, Oregon — fog banks and gray

img_0210

Sunrise in Bandon, OR

Sunrise in Bandon, OR

img_0221

img_0229

Coquille River Lighthouse

Coquille River Lighthouse

Bandon, Oregon mural

Bandon, Oregon mural

Logging country (One day we counted 24 logging trucks during our drive)

Logging country (One day we counted 24 logging trucks during our drive)

Reedsport, Oregon

Reedsport, Oregon

Conde B McCullough Memorial Bridge north of Coos Bay

Conde B McCullough Memorial Bridge north of Coos Bay

img_0241

Landscape near Dean Elk Viewing Station in Reedsport

Landscape near Dean Elk Viewing Station in Reedsport

Queen Anne's Lace along roadside

Queen Anne’s Lace along roadside

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

img_0253

img_0256-2

Biker at viewpoint along Hwy 101

Biker at viewpoint along Hwy 101

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Old House Dahlia Farm in the Tillamook Valley

Old House Dahlia Farm in the Tillamook Valley

img_0274

img_0265

 

 

Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach

Pacific Ocean at Rialto Beach

“That far-resounding roar is the Ocean’s voice of welcome.  His salt breath brings a blessing along with it.”
— Nathaniel Hawthorne, from “Footprints on the Sea-shore”

Olympic National Park has several beach access points to the Pacific coast.  On this road trip, we stopped at three beaches and walked barefoot in the sand.

Rialto Beach was the wildest shore with stretches of pebbly sand and sea stacks jutting up from the water.

img_9966

img_9961

img_9970

Ruby Beach was glorious in the morning light.  We descended a short trail down from the parking area to the beach.  Old tree trunks littered the shore above the tide line.  This beach, too, had sea stacks.  But it also had tide pools to explore and fine sand to walk on.

Arriving at Ruby Beach in the early morning

Arriving at Ruby Beach in the early morning

Sea stacks

Sea stacks

img_0031

img_0028

img_0033

img_0039

img_0045

img_0058

Kalaloch Beach seemed tamer, with a wide expanse of soft sand down to the water’s edge.

Kalaloch Beach

Kalaloch Beach

img_0069

img_0071

“The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to the ocean —
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.”
— Robert Frost, “Devotion”

 

The Cry of Seagulls

August 17, 2016

“And oh, the cry of the seagulls!  Have you ever heard it?  Can you remember?”
— C. S. Lewis

IMG_9057

One memorable part of my day trip to Rialto Beach was that I got many great photographs of seagulls in flight.  They were feeding in the surf, right at the edge the water, and they were swooping past at eye level.  So here are the results of my photo frenzy capturing the freedom of flight:

IMG_9070

IMG_9059

Juvenile seagull

Juvenile seagull

IMG_9054

IMG_9040

IMG_9041

IMG_9039

IMG_9038

IMG_9036

IMG_9031

IMG_9030

IMG_9029

IMG_9028

IMG_9026

Watercolor sketch of seagulls

Watercolor sketch of seagulls

Another watercolor sketch of seagulls

Another watercolor sketch of seagulls

 

 

 

Sol Duc River at its mouth on the Pacific Ocean

Sol Duc River at its mouth on the Pacific Ocean

Olympic National Park is really huge and encompasses such diverse landscapes — snow-capped mountains, freshwater lakes (like Lake Crescent), ocean beaches, and temperate rain forests.  It really is a marvel.  Rialto Beach was less than an hour’s drive from Nature Bridge campus, so three of us interrupted our retreat to make a day trip there.

Rock cairns on the Rialto Beach

Rock cairns on the Rialto Beach

Walking barefoot on the beach

Walking barefoot on the beach

Rialto Beach is wild, windy, and glorious.  The surf pounds.  The air is rich with ozone.  Sea stacks off shore appear and disappear in the mist.  Huge logs litter the upper beach.  Tall evergreens border the ocean’s edge.  The beach is sandy and pebbly, and all the pebbles from small to large are flat and smooth.  The parking lots were full, but the immensity of the coast absorbed all those people so you felt the space as expansive.

We walked along the beach to the Hole in the Wall, ate a picnic lunch, and then painted for an hour or so.  Here are some photos of our day at Rialto Beach:

Sea stack like a ghostly phantom on the horizon

Sea stack like a ghostly phantom on the horizon

IMG_9057

IMG_9100

One of the world's giant sandboxes

One of the world’s giant sandboxes

Two friends

Two friends

IMG_9052

Ink and watercolor sketch of sea stacks

Ink and watercolor sketch of sea stacks

Watercolor painting of sea stacks at Rialto Beach

Watercolor painting of sea stacks at Rialto Beach

Another view of sea stacks from First Beach, La Push

Another view of sea stacks from First Beach, La Push

 

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

IMG_8671

IMG_8674

IMG_8681

IMG_8685

Some views from the jetty:

Surfers, Westport, WA

Surfers, Westport, WA

IMG_8692

IMG_8715

 

 

IMG_0196

IMG_0202

IMG_0191

IMG_0260

IMG_0245

IMG_0270

 

IMG_0268

IMG_0217

IMG_0315

IMG_0213

IMG_0318

IMG_9999

 

Road Trips and the Mind

August 3, 2014

“Carried along on the hum of the motor and the countryside passing by, the journey itself flows through you and clears your head.  Ideas one held on to without any reason depart; others, however, are readjusted and settle like pebbles at the bottom of a stream.  There’s no need to interfere; the road does that work for you.  One would like to think that it stretches out like this, dispensing its good offices, not just to the ends of India but even further, until death.”
— Nicolas Bouvier, The Way of the World

Nearing sunset on Hwy 101, Olympic Peninsula

Nearing sunset on Hwy 101, Olympic Peninsula

This has been a vacation-less summer for me, and I’ve been craving a getaway.  This weekend my husband and I took a daytrip to a few ocean beaches on the Olympic Peninsula.  We drove from sun up to sun down — a long day — but relaxing in the way Bouvier describes in the quote above, the miles stringing along with free-flowing thoughts and impressions.  The day was a tonic.

We explored two beaches I had never been to before near La Push on the Pacific coast and Rialto Beach where I had taken my niece last year.  Our summer weather has been hot and sunny lately, but interestingly, a fog bank had settled right where the water met the land, and it stayed cool and gray on the beaches.  We could barely make out the silhouettes of sea stacks off shore.  Still, being by the ocean was restorative — the fresh smells of salt and wet sand, the rhythmic crashing of the waves.

First Beach in LaPush with fog-enshrouded sea stacks

First Beach in LaPush with fog-enshrouded sea stacks

Jetty at First Beach

Jetty at First Beach

Through the "eye" of driftwood

Through the “eye” of driftwood

Watching the waves

Watching the waves

Mile+ path down to Second Beach included stairs down the bluff

Mile+ path down to Second Beach included stairs down the bluff

Fog at Second Beach

Fog at Second Beach

Surf fishing at Second Beach

Surf fishing at Second Beach

IMAGE_6090

IMAGE_6091

IMAGE_6095

Second Beach

Second Beach

Sand sculpture

Sand sculpture

Pebbly shore at Rialto Beach

Pebbly shore at Rialto Beach

The sun never made it out

The sun never made it out

Stacked beach rocks, Rialto Beach

Stacked beach rocks, Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach

Seagull

Seagull

Seagull

Seagull

 

 

” . . . and there they are, thousands and thousands of tourists driving by slowly on the high curves all oo ing and aa ing at all that vast blue panorama of seas washing and raiding the coast of California . . .”
— Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

View of the coastline from the lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore

View of the coastline from the lighthouse at Point Reyes National Seashore

I have a dream of someday driving every mile of the U.S. lower 48 coastline.  Starting with Neah Bay in Washington State and driving south along the Pacific coast to the Mexican border.  Then starting again in Brownsville, Texas and going along the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Keys, and then north along the Atlantic coast to the tip of Maine.  I don’t mind doing this journey piecemeal, and I’ve already driven much of the Washington and Oregon coasts.  This trip was an opportunity to cover some of the California coast from Point Reyes National Seashore north of San Francisco to Big Sur.

While the weather was sunny in San Francisco, we encountered pockets of low lying fog along parts of the coast.  This is a wild coastline, with pounding surf and inaccessible shorelines at the bases of cliffs and bluffs.  The pockets of accessible beach occur every so often — many are state park lands — and the popular ones were busy with people picnicking and playing in the sand.  Few people were in the water or wading in the treacherous surf.  We saw surfers on the beaches of Santa Cruz. It was easy to park roadside at the more remote beaches — remarkable that you could have these great stretches of beach almost to yourself.

The gray whales were migrating south to their birthing grounds, and we were lucky to have spotted evidence of their passing — three spouts above the water.  No actual sightings of the whales themselves.

Watching for gray whales

Watching for gray whales

The California coast is extraordinarily beautiful.  Here are some photos:
IMAGE_1346

South Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

South Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

South Beach, Point Reyes National Seahore

South Beach, Point Reyes National Seashore

Marina at Pillar Point

Marina at Pillar Point

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

Seagulls resting on Bird Island, Point Lobos

Seagulls resting on Bird Island, Point Lobos

Off Highway 1 on the way to Big Sur

Off Highway 1 on the way to Big Sur

Big Sur

Big Sur

Our lunchtime view of the Big Sur coastline from the deck of the Nepenthe Restaurant

Our lunchtime view of the Big Sur coastline from the deck of the Nepenthe Restaurant

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Seagull seizing a starfish

Quite a large morsel

Carrying its prey to shore

As my husband and I were walking Vancouver’s seawall path in Stanley Park, we saw a seagull swoop down and grab a starfish.  It must have looked like a tasty morsel, but the starfish was quite large relative to the seagull, and there was no way the bird could take flight again with that prey in its beak. The seagull struggled with its prize, eventually taking it to the rocky beach.  We left before we saw how the drama ended — did the seagull abandon the starfish or figure out how to actually eat it?

It was definitely a case of the seagull’s eyes being bigger than its stomach.

We could relate.  My husband and I splurged on the Hyatt’s breakfast buffet just a few hours earlier.  Everything looked so good — I must have eaten about three breakfasts worth in one sitting!

First servings from Hyatt's breakfast buffet