Sunday, January 29, 2012

Nobody. Else. There.

Friday morning. Rialto Beach. There was nobody else there, and mostly nothing else either: no birds, no kelp, no trash, no break in the slope, no... Just the ocean, the beach face, and then the trees.

Rialto Beach, January 27, 2012. Morning. (Click for larger image.)

During the high surf days the waves had swept clear across parts of Rialto Jetty, either carrying the drift away or pushing it over and down the back side of the slope, where it seems it must be going to stay forever or until some unimaginable 1000-year flood on the river picks it up and carries it back out into the ocean. Further to the north, on the Ellen Creek beach segment, the waves had smoothed away the summer berm and flattened the slope of the beach face, shoving all the sand or pebbles up and into the forest edge. It was ever so clear why a scrim of salt-killed ghosts edges the beach. (McKay and Terrich, Gravel Barrier Morphology: Olympic National Park, 1992: "It is evident that frequent overwashing occurs along this part of the barrier and the entire barrier is retreating into the forested area... trees are being killed by saltwater intrusion and eventually are toppled by high waves and drift logs.")

Swept. (Click for larger image.)

From behind the screen of ghost trees, Rialto Beach, January 27, 2012 (Click for larger image.)

A raccoon (??) had passed by (Click for larger image.)

Even for a winter weekday morning, such solitude was unusual. This is after all a premier drive-to beach on the Outer Coast of a well-used National Park. After a couple of hours, a pair of people walked by, and shortly afterwards a through-hiker with a backpack. O noes, I had to share the ocean!! With three other people.

Later I drove around to the La Push side of the river; sat out on the point reading, sleepy. Every last stick of drift had been carried away from beneath the point, and a sharp bank cut. A crow pair was hopping around; skittering sideways towards each other, hunching their necks and clacking their beaks; keeping close to each other. A fishing boat came through the channel into the Quileute River mouth, heading for the harbor. The tide kept coming in.

... (Click for larger image.)
First Beach, With Crows (Click for larger image.)


IVA said...

Well, I have never in all your pictures on this blog seen Rialto looking like what I would call perhaps wrongly an "ordinary" beach, you know all beach sandy and free of the things that define Rialto. Drift, wrack, and so on. That year I lived on a Mexican beach, that whole year, I never saw so much as one log, though I did see lots of Pelicans and a dying alligator. One sandpiper and lots of magnificent frigate birds overhead, seeking to fish right out of pelican beaks. Oh, and lava old old lava high up on the beach, round hunks of it.

samcandide said...

Second comment attempt: Glorious photos, Miriam. Just what I wanted on a Sunday morning after blueberry-walnut waffles and coffee. I think I'll pin up a couple to my board at Pinterest. Thank you for sharing your beaches and waters with us high-desert stranded.