Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Ocian in view!...

...O! The Joy!" wrote William Clark in November, 1805, as he looked over... the estuary of the Columbia river, still 20 miles inland from their eventual winter camp at Fort Clatsop, near the shores of the Pacific. I obviously can't fathom a journey such as theirs. But just a little bit, I know how he felt. Driving in a car, with a map, I excitedly shouted "Ocean in view!" about 10 times before we actually saw the ocean. There were times I thought we may not see the ocean at all... this was our view of the river as we drove toward the coast... from in and above the fog.

But eventually, we made ocean... and we thought it was worth it, as Lewis and Clark must have also (before the terribly dreary, rainy winter they spent there began in earnest.)
I know, right? Spectacularly beautiful, the towering old growth forests (separate entry) and mysterious ocean... Why do I live in Illinois, again?

We saw a lot of fascinating marine life, although some of it was dead marine life, left on the wet expanses of sand by the receding tide. This is my sketch of a crab shell, with a small barnacle growing on it.
This was the largest and freshest of the jellyfish that had washed up on to shore. It was actually still moving, wrestling with death, but there was nothing we could do to help it...
In the tide pools, my camera's underwater function got proper initiation. Prior to this, its underwater usage had been limited to fascinated tweenage boys submerging it in bowls and faucets. This photo is pretty cool, I think -- it has the anemone and its reflection on the top of the water from underneath! We also saw sand dollars, a variety of shells, kelp, etc.

Forces both human and natural had shaped the sand landscape. Streams to the sea and tides had made sand mounds and ripples like miniature canyonlands; sometimes I felt as though I was a giant looking down on a desert landscape from high above....
Was Andy Goldsworthy on the beach before us? I think not, but this was a neat cairn someone left behind.

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