Tuesday, January 8, 2013

a day at the beach

Happy New Year!

Todd and I are back from our yearly trip to Portland, Oregon.  I'm normally incredibly organized when I travel, with lists of items for every contingency.  I bring medicine in case we get sick, Band-Aids and Neosporin in case we have cuts, extra books and notebooks/pens in case we have unexpected down time, checkbooks in case we lose our debit cards and need money, four or five emery boards in case our nails magically grow several inches in two week's time and need to be tamed...you get the idea.  But this trip, I forgot something crucial. 

We were at Multnomah Falls, and I was having a double rainbow moment.  Not like this double rainbow moment, but a genuine one, nonetheless.  A double rainbow was lighting up the sky above the falls parking lot!  I clutched my side, and realized that I had forgotten my camera.  Argh!  Thankfully Todd had his iPhone, so I was able to get a serious of images, but they aren't as clear (whimper) as the images that my camera would deliver.


One rainy day, we decided to take a trip to the beach.  It's about an hour and a half from Portland, and I try to make the drive whenever I'm in town, even if it's in the winter.

I love the beach.

I love going to the little coastal towns - some touristy, some heartbreakingly dilapidated, some artsy and dignified.  They all contain charmingly-shingled wooden houses.

The beaches are all different, too.  Some are sand, but most are at least partially rock.

You can usually find amazing combinations of sea weed and kelp.

There's always beautiful moss - on rocks and growing on/hanging from the trees.

You can find beautiful pieces of driftwood, or even 'regular' wood whose inner beauty has been exposed by the push of the waves:

You can usually find sand dollars and pretty rocks, and sometimes, a mysterious sea creature that no one can seem to identify:

Learning his identity is going to be one of my goals this week!  We saw many of these along the coast, and other visitors were looking at them curiously.  One hypothesis is that they're from Japan, part of the flotsam coming over in the wake of the tsunami.

The tsunami hit Japan a little over a year ago, and evidence of it is still washing up on Oregon shores.

Pretty meandering paths are common...

And, of course, on rainy days you get a lovely mist over the water.

My very favorite beach, which I may have mentioned before, is Hug Point.  It's a dangerous beach, with sneaker waves, rip tides, and uneven ground.

But it has beautiful trees running along the coast:

 And a beautiful sea cave:

And an angry, frothy surf that I love to watch.  Even when it appears calm, the water sneaks up on you. 

Although there are no overt signs of danger, the water comes closer...

...and closer.

That was no sneaker wave, but a demonstration of how dangerous the surf can be here.  I was nearly washed off my feet several years ago by a surge of water that came out of nowhere and did not appear as the high waves that would normally indicate danger.  That's the sneaky thing about sneaker waves...they just look like a typical low roll of water that washes up on the beach, but they come quickly, and with a lot more power - and water - behind them that you would expect.  I heard local news stories of people being injured by sneaker waves when I lived in Oregon.  Here is a video that shows just how dangerous they can be.

We left Hug Point and traveled further down the coast.  Sea gulls were everywhere:

In some towns, the piles of clam shells were several feet high!

 We saw a pretty sunset...

...and went home for a clam feast.

 A perfect end to a day at the beach!


  1. Ohhhhh I try to keep Hug Point a secret...

    and sneaker waves once got both my brothers - they almost drowned but were rescued.

  2. Isn't it beautiful there? Once Todd and I sat on the little bench overlooking the beach and watched a big storm come in...we had such a nice time.

    I'm so glad your brothers are all right! I got hit by a sneaker wave once, although it wasn't very big...one minute the beach/water was calm, the next minute the water was up past my knees and almost knocked me off my feet. That night on the news, I heard of a woman who'd broken both knees getting knocked off her feet by a sneaker wave!

  3. Thanks. They were pulled out into a whirlpool - scary.

    I meant to tell you - it's a sand flea...


  4. Oh, I wish I would've had my regular camera so I could've gotten a better picture! It was about 6 inches long and gelatinous, totally clear, like a jellyfish, but with rubbery antenna. I sent a photo to U of O's Marine Biology Dept. and am hoping for an ID soon!

  5. 6 inches long - YIKES! that's not a sand flea - sand fleas are also called No seeums - little guys

    I'll be curious to hear what you find out