Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Perfect Sunny Saturday

There were lots of people apparently out fishing on the Sol Duc out towards the ocean Saturday. Traffic in unaccustomed places, small-boat trailers, SUVs with fishing poles on their carry racks. Many vehicles parked, people walking along the highway with fishing rods, etc. So I stopped and asked in the store at Mora to find out what is running. Winter steelhead.

The parking lot at Rialto was full. Well, duh: holiday weekend, warm day, good low tide, bald eagles in the trees: it must be the right time to go to Hole-in-the-Rock. The truly enterprising had on their backpacks and were throwing themselves into a late-winter through-hike around a point or two, to camp in solitude in the next cove or the next after that.

Rialto Beach ; click for large image

Everybody else who crossed Ellen Creek to get to Hole-in-the-Rock tightrope-walked the pile of drift logs at the back of the beach. I felt too unstable but also stubborn. I took off my boots AND my jeans and just waded over. Same on the return. None of the nearby beach walkers seemed particularly shocked by my large body and bright purple underwear.

Rialto Beach ; click for large image

My sister, who only knows Florida where the Gulf Stream brings warm water along the shore all year long, can't understand why I would go to a beach at all if I can't go swimming. Once I stop needing four or five layers of clothes just to hang out on the beach, as the days get warmer I might at least wade in, let some of that lovely foam wash up around my knees or thighs, or something. Hmmmm, better start remembering to bring my old 'beach shoes' tennies in the car, and a spare towel. Summer is coming. But year-round the water is a good 30 degrees colder than those Florida waters I grew up in.

Ocean temperature charts. Steelhead angler information from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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