Saturday, July 02, 2011

47 Seconds of Sunshine

Tuesday and Wednesday, continued running around with JK. We had a good time, talking about libraries and my former co-workers, about retirement, relationships, old age, and a meaningful life— and meanwhile laying on a tour of the Northwest Corner of the continental US, and the Makah Reservation. (Maps: (1), (2) and see below). It was warmish, grey weather; and the sky refrained from raining on us; that counted as good weather, both days. Tuesday we went to Cape Flattery; enjoyed some seabirds—(drat, the list has vanished) pigeon guillemots, black oystercatchers, tufted puffins, double-crested cormorants, sea lions at a distance, an eagle.

View from last viewing deck, Cape Flattery, June 28, 2011 (Click for larger image.)

Then headed to Sooes Beach, which is along Makah Bay. We paid a very nice Makah lady to park in her frontyard parking lot, used the access trail down the road as she suggested rather than the one on her property, and didn't pick up anything on the beach because she said not to.

The tide was low. We walked north to a seastack covered all over with trees, cow parsnip, and nootka rose. Roses, and roses, the whole thing was netted with roses in bloom. We poked around in the tide pools. Did you know that black turban snails (Tegula funebralis) are believed to live as long as 100 years?

Small island on Sooes Beach (Click for larger image.)
Nootka roses on the side of the small stranded island (Click for larger image.)

We had the beach to ourselves, a degree of solitude essentially unknown on California or East Coast beaches. When we turned back, JK walked ahead. I realized how completely and extensively there was nobody else there.

Walking South on Sooes Beach. That's JK there, above the purple marker on the image. (Click for larger image.)

The drive is two hours each way and we started late, so the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay was already closed when we left the beach. We drove home through the Park, along Lake Crescent, and went back out there on Wednesday. We studied our way through the museum very very thoroughly, at least JK did, admiring the Ozette artifacts and reading every inch of display text. Then on to Hobuck Beach, where I decided J. and I were free to pick things up; because when we survey for dead birds at Hobuck, my bird mentors (one from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and the other who is Makah) always hand me little treasures as they find them... So JK got two sanddollars, and I got three limpet shells.

Hobuck Beach, after the minute of sunshine. (Click for larger image.)

Sand dollar. (Click for larger image.)

Early in our second beach visit, the sun came out for about one minute. Instant euphoria. We were capering and waving our arms to make our shadows dance. At the mouth of the Wa'atch River, JK stalked an eagle who was sitting on the sand, trying to get close enough for a good photo. The tide went out. The wide exposed sands were silky soft.

Wa'atch River, Hobuck Beach (Click for very much larger image and look for the eagle sitting on the ground on the other side of the river.)

On our way home we stopped at Washburn's store in Neah Bay. I needed caffeine, JK still lacked a couple of those bring-home-to-officemates presents. I got so invested in her hunt that I sent home presents with her for three of the people I used to cruise for souvenirs for on every trip away from the workplace. JK teased me. "Nyaah nyaah, four years later, and can't cut the cord."

There were LOTS of eagles around Neah Bay, handsome young ones as well as the white-headed oldsters.


Re: the black turbans, it's J. Duane Sept who says they live 100 years. Ricketts and Hedgpeth (whom I usually believe implicitly) say 20 - 30 years. Most of ours seemed to be occupied by hermit crabs, but some were going on their mollusc-y way, still doing their jobs. It's hard to walk around among the tidepools once you are aware of invertebrate life. You may have to Step On Them to get anywhere.

Black turban snails, and a limpet. (Click for larger image.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ohhhhhhh... Wish i could have been there too.