Redfish Rangers

Finding My Niche Part 2

The local radio station and signs posted throughout Port Orford advertised a volunteer opportunity as a Redfish Ranger… a person outside of the Battle Rock Wayside providing education and outreach about marine reserves, specifically Redfish Rocks, one of the first two reserves in Oregon.

So… of course, I made a phone call and the next thing you know I am attending an all-day training at the Oregon State University Field Station in Port Orford on May 31st.

The Field Station overlooks Battle Rock Beach.

I take a close-up of Battle Rock from the porch of the Field Station. Humbug Mountain rises in the background. The red arrow points to 2 of the 6 rocks that are called Redfish Rocks. (Five emergent rock islands are always visible from shore. The 6th rock is the small shadow to the right of the arrow and is often not visible.)

Why the name Redfish Rocks, you ask? The preponderance of red kelp and the yellow, orange, pink, and red hues of the rockfish species living here cast a red spell on this underwater habitat.


Redfish rocks:

From the docks…

From the overlook at Battle Rock Visitor Center…

From Battle Rock Beach…

Walking south along Battle Rock Beach…

At the mouth of Hubbard Creek…


The Redfish Rangers are a group of trained volunteers who communicate the unique values of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve to the public and generally engage people on issues of marine conservation in Oregon. Max Beeken of South Coast Applied Ecology secured a grant to educate the public about the ecological, physical, and cultural aspects of theRedfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area.

Unfortunately Jeannette, the original Volunteer Coordinator, had to step down due to an unexpected illness.

On May 31st I was one of four volunteers who attended the first training session. Sitting next to AJ, she and I became instant friends. She was a docent at the Hughes House and I was interested in becoming one at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

On June 29th a second training session was held with Maya Holiman at the helm. Three more volunteers attended.

July 4th was our official kickoff date but AJ and I tested the waters, so to speak, on Saturday June 30th.


Part of the grant requirement is to survey visitors at Battle Rock Wayside Visitor Center. We find out where folks are from and where they are headed. As we stand and admire the beautiful coastal view together,  we share our connection to Port Orford and point out the 5 prominent rocks of Redfish Rocks one of five marine reserves in Oregon.

AJ and I soon learned that a clipboard and pencil was a deterrent in approaching visitors. So, donned in our jackets (and eventually red caps) we simply walked up to people and started a conversation… Sometimes short and sweet and sometimes so much more…


I know you want the “so much more”…
What

Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve is a living undersea laboratory dedicated to conservation and research. The Marine Reserve is a 2.7 square mile “no fish/no take” area of kelp beds, large boulders, complex rocky reef, and soft bottom reaching to a depth of 131 feet. No extraction of fish, crab, and red sea urchin is allowed.

An additional 5 square miles beyond the Reserve is the Marine Protected Area where crabbing and salmon trolling is allowed.

Why
  • Protect and sustain seas for future generations
  • Conserve marine habitats and biodiversity
  • Provide a framework for scientific research and effectiveness monitoring
  • Avoid significant adverse social and economic impacts on ocean users coastal communities
  • Invest in the future profitability to provide more fish
  • Offer educational opportunities for students, residents, and visitors
Who and when

In 2009 the state of Oregon enlisted the help of Port Orford’s  commercial fishermen and local community to take part in a pilot project to establish an ocean reserve. After 3 years of “give and take” discussions and meetings between the local community, fishing community, and the state, the Port Orford fishing community picked the location and established the boundaries and rules. After submitting their proposal to the state, the legislature approved and adopted the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Oregon State University (OSU), and the local fishing community began collecting baseline data in 2010. Research monitoring includes: the Fishtracker Project that studies the movement of fish implanted with transmitters, Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) controlled aboard host vessels that allow researchers to monitor habitat by recording video and taking measurements of habitat features and fish species of the reserve, SMURF (Standardized Monitoring Unit for the Recruitment of Fishes) that collects juvenile fishes at the reserve and comparison sites, and hook-and-line surveys conducted inside and outside the reserve to measure the size and distribution of fish species.

Restrictions began in January of 2012.

Will prohibiting fishing in the Reserve benefit the ocean ecosystem? Will the Reserve contribute to a more sustainable fishing industry for Port Orford?

Data is up for review in 2023.


Other interesting facts:

  • It takes 1,000 pounds of kelp/seaweed to grow a salmon
  • Rockfish can live for 50 – over 100 years
  • Rockfish give birth to live babies
    • very small, like plankton
    • vulnerable to currents
    • adrift for about 90 days before settling as juveniles
  • BOFFFFs
    • big old fat fertile female fish
    • as rockfish females age they produce more offspring
    • as rockfish females age they produce more viable offspring


Check out redfishrocks.org to find out more.

Librarians Never Retire

Finding My Niche Part 1

From summers past, I knew the library “hired” volunteers.  After arriving here April 16th, I decided to seriously check out (get it?) this opportunity.

So, in May I talked to the Director of the library, Denise Willms, to inquire about the possibility of my volunteering. When I mentioned that I was a retired librarian, she smiled and said, “Laurel, librarians never retire!” We became instant friends, scheduled a meeting  on Monday and on Friday, May 18th, I reported for duty from 10-12.

I work with a most wonderful woman named Daisy, originally from Brazil. She came to Port Orford by way of Portland several years ago. She also volunteers at the CO-OP, a natural foods market and deli in town. Daisy is quite the gardener. She owns 3 plots at Buffington Memorial Park where she grows all sorts of vegetables for her plant-based diet.


A library begins with the first book

In 1921 the State Library in Salem loaned one hundred books to Port Orford creating a traveling library that was operated out of the Port Orford Hardware Store. Mabel Gillings, the wife of the hardware store owner, was responsible for transporting the books back and forth. 

In 1927 the Women’s Club of Port Orford established an official library with 315 books. It was open two afternoons and one evening a week in the rooms of the Civic Improvement Club. Between 1929-1932 the Women’s Club rooms and library were located in the same building as the Leneve Drugstore.

In 1934 the library shared a  building with the Chamber of Commerce and Civic Club Rooms. Rent was $1 per month. The library owned 1,552 books and was open for 8 hours a week. The population of Port Orford was 449.

When this building was sold in June 1935, the library collection was moved to the high school until a new Civic Club Community House could be built. The Port Orford Women’s Club helped circulate books for one hour after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and for two hours on Saturday afternoons.

In 1937 the Women’s Club built their own building, the afore mentioned Community House.  Various community groups held meetings here, including the American Legion Post before their building was built.  A Curry County Reporter article from June 1938 stated that Mrs. Maude Lynch, the president of the Women’s Club, was working on library books “at the Community House and will later fix up the Women’s Club library”, perhaps implying two library collections? In September of 1938 the Reporter referred to Maude Lynch as the library supervisor. In December the same newspaper printed an article about the opening of the Women’s Club library and the resignation of its president, Maude Lynch. Then in January 1939 the Curry County Reporter stated: “The town library will open Saturday from 2 to 4 pm at the Legion Hall under the supervision of Maude Lynch.” Indeed, it seemed two rival libraries existed in a town of 755 people by 1940.

In late 1940 the Oregon State Librarian, Harriet Long, visited Port Orford to consolidate the two libraries. After sorting, discarding, and mending books, the Curry County Bank donated a small building to house the collection. This building was then moved to the site occupied by the City Hall. A librarian was hired with funds from the Works Progress Administration, patrons received library cards, and the collection grew. When W.P.A. funds were no longer available, volunteers operated the library.

By 1956 the city had enough funds to hire a librarian again. Unfortunately a fire in 1958 destroyed all the buildings at the City Hall site, except for the jail. Library books were saved but water-damaged and moved into the vacant Post Office Building on Highway 101, sharing a crowded space with City Hall offices.

In 1962, with donated land, a new City Hall, designed to include space for the library, was built and dedicated on April 21st.

By the late 1960s, however, the library needed more space and the Library Board considered constructing a new building with funds received from the city and county. In 1970 the Board asked Curry County for $18,000 to build a new library. In 1972 Gold Beach, 25 miles south of Port Orford, donated almost 1/3 of its annual county library funds ($8,000) toward a new library. Local volunteers installed the ceiling and furnace ducts, built tables and myrtlewood panels for the end of the bookshelves, and painted. In 1973 the new library building opened, sharing space with the Port Orford City Council. By 1975 the library had a collection of 10,000 volumes and 15 children participated in the Summer Reading Program.

By the early 1980s the county funds allocated to the library were reduced to nothing. The Library Board took the necessary steps to form a tax district requiring a voter-passed levy to finance the library. On November 2, 1982 voters approved the Port Orford Public Library District, one of the first in the state. In 1983 a levy passed to fund the library. The November election of 1984 successfully established the tax base on which the library continues operating today.

In 1988 eight out of ten people living in Port Orford had active library cards.

The possibility of building a new library for Port Orford went from a dream to a hopeful reality in 1994, when funds from Charlotte Johnson’s Memorial were used to start a Capital Reserve Fund for library expansion. A year later the Port Orford Public Library Foundation was formed to manage funds and secure more. In December 1999 a bequest of $80,250 from the Robert Reinhardt estate turned hope into a promising reality.

After 22 years as librarian, the longest of any in Port Orford, Bonnie Wagner retired in 1999. Tobe Porter, librarian at Langlois, 12 miles north, was hired on a part-time basis and managed both libraries. She became passionately committed to building a new Port Orford library. In 2003 Tobe became the full-time director of the Port Orford Library, declining a position to serve on the Oregon Library Association, in order to apply for grants to construct a new building to house the library collection.

In 2001 Norma and Bob Carlisle donated property at the corner of 15th and Highway 101 for the site of a new library.

Bake sales, rummage sales, a quilt raffle, fundraising meals, musical events, book signings, art shows, donations, and grants helped advance the cause of a new library building. In May 2007 voters of the Library District  passed a $450,000 bond to ensure funds to pay for construction. On July 29, 2007 ninety-year-old Dot Mathews, representing the past, and four-year-old Rowan Tilley, representing the future cut the yellow ribbon. This was the signal for several of the younger patrons, with child-sized shovels and toy earthmoving equipment to ceremonially “break ground” for the new library. As more grants came in, the Library Board voted that it would be unnecessary to issue the $450,000 general obligation bond. In June 2008 the 11,000 square feet new Port Orford Public Library was finished, debt-free, and had a permanent home at last!

Nelson, Shirley. Home At Last: the journey of Port Orford Public Library from a traveling borrowed collection in 1921 to a home of its own in 2008. The Friends of Port Orford Public Library, 2008.


Port Orford Library is the hub of this town of 1100 people. Denise, the Director, is the only full-time staff member. Everyone else is either a volunteer or part-time employee.

The collection includes large print editions, DVDs, music CDs, and books on tape. The fiction books are further separated into 2 popular genres: Mystery and Westerns.

Port Orford is part of the Coastline Library System, 13 libraries serving Curry and Coos Counties. Requesting an item from any of these libraries is easy peasy.

Patrons enjoy and rely on free internet access.

The man in the black baseball cap, in the picture below, is Popz. Every Friday we wait together for the doors to open at 10 am. Some years back Popz, whose real name is Brad, owned a surf shop in Port Orford.

Last Friday, however, he wasn’t there. Today I found out that he passed away. Popz, though we barely knew one another, know you will be missed!

There are 3 meeting rooms available, 2 small and 1 large. Their calendar of events include metaphysical classes, youth chess club, folk dance, and bridge games, just to mention a few.

The Children’s Room is inviting and busy. Cheryl is in charge of the Children’s and Young Adult collection. She plans programs throughout the year and oversees the school libraries’ collections as well. Driftwood Elementary is in town just across the highway. Pacific High School is about 5 miles north. Neither school has a certified librarian so volunteers manage the libraries during the school day.

This week I helped Cheryl weed the high school collection. I think we discarded half of the books as most volumes were so very outdated. I felt like I was getting back in the groove for a new school year again.

The hallway displays local artists’ works, a carrousel of free paperbacks and a shelf of older magazines.

The Friends of the Port Orford Library was formed in 1982 and helped promote the formation of a Tax District. Still searching for their true mission, librarian Bonnie Wagner spoke at a meeting about the need for the organization. She said the Friends are “the icing on the cake” for the library, providing funds for activities not in the budget. Besides a Christmas Bazaar, they hold a twice-annual used book sale.

Nelson, Shirley. Home At Last: the journey of Port Orford Public Library from a traveling borrowed collection in 1921 to a home of its own in 2008. The Friends of Port Orford Public Library, 2008.

Their Unique Boutique, located on the southern end of the hallway, sells used treasures.


Thank you, Denise, for bringing me out of retirement for a couple of hours each week. I will miss so many people here: Wendy, Cheryl, Kyle, Alice, Penny, Midge, people whose names I cannot remember, patrons, and especially Daisy. Thank you for making me feel right at home.

Cape Blanco to Blacklock Point

Finally!

After several attempts driving to Cape Blanco to access the northern beach and walk from the Lighthouse to Blacklock Point, we finally succeed. Today is not foggy, windy, or cold.  And the tide is low.

We park outside of the gate leading to the Lighthouse and descend onto the beach.

Waves crash over boulders on the shore, painting them shiny black.

About an hour later we approach the southern side of Blacklock Point and make our way through the green, red, orange, and gray rocks.

High tides from winter leave piles of driftwood atop ridges of sand.

A whimsical driftwood hut has lost its roof.

Strong winds and waves wedge this large piece of wood into these boulders on the beach. Oh, did I forget to mention that this photo is facing east?

There’s the ocean peaking through. And look, the fog is rolling in.

We climb a grassy dune scattered with driftwood…

…and descend onto another rocky beach.

A path leads up to higher ground.

The deep crack in a rock resembles an upside down letter V.

The fog thickens and obscures Blacklock’s ledge of rugged rocks jutting out to sea.

Coming down the path we encounter a grandfather, his 3 grandchildren, and 2 dogs. The kids romp on the beach.

And we head back.

A sand slide!

The sea gets choppier.

The sky blends into the ocean.

The Sixes River pools into a lake.

The mouth of the river no longer reaches the Pacific.

Seagulls…

A clump of kelp…

Two and a half hours later we are back where we began, on the beach beneath the lighthouse. Trust me, Cape Blanco Lighthouse is there, buried in the fog.

Starry Starry Morning…

Minus Tide on Battle Rock Beach: A Photo Exhibition


The stars of the show: A series


a collection of co-stars: collages with anemones


So many starfish… so amazing


Seize the Size


mosaics on the rocks


I spy Starfish…


Anemones, barnacles, and snails… sigh


Snail Crossing


She sees Seagulls on the seashore


Swept ashore: a still life of starfish, snails, and chiton


Blowing beautiful bubbles on the beach


I’ve looked at clouds…

And fog…

from all sides…

Now…


Moseying through the mouth of Hubbard Creek

REACHING OUT TO THE ROCK

The ides of tides


REVELATIONS: REVEALING UNREVEALED ROCKS

A visceral victim: 2 Vultures and A washed-up sea lion


4 swept up starfish sitting in the sun: souvenirs


A Rainbow rings the sun: our walk is done

More Beach Bumming

My Favorite Moments

Battle Rock Beach June 22nd

Ripples of sand…

Tidal pools…

Sea anemones…

On the rocks…

Redfish Rocks…

Hubbard Creek changes channels to the sea…

Washed up…

Black Oyster Catchers…

Rooted in the sand…


Paradise point/Agate Beach June 26th… HAppy birthday, dad. You would have been 92 Years old. ❤

It’s a w-i-n-d-y day!

This colorful little beetle blows away after I take its picture…

As we continue walking south along the beach our backs are pelted by the tiny pebbles carried by the wind. Ouch! The only bums bumming along the shore are us…


Battle Rock beach again July 7th

Bundles of bull kelp…

Navigating the waves…

Notice the sailboat in the photo above and Redfish Rocks in the photo below.

And now I capture them both in the same photo…

Pecking order… Fresh crab…

Snail shells and other stuff stuck on sea rocks…

Hubbard Creek and Humbug Mountain…

Serious sand sculpting …

Blue skies, evergreens, sandy cliffs, and pink flowers…


Tseriadun State Park/Agate Beach July 10th

Blackberries…

Yummily tart to the taste…

Live crab…

Tidal pools…

A starfish mosaic created by the wind…

Port Orford Heads…

“Mussel Beach”…

Splish splash…

Agate hunters…

Humbug Mountain Beach

Searching for Coal Point

Yesterday we explored the beach from Rocky Point south to the waterfall. Today we drive further south to the Humbug Mountain Trailhead to walk north along the beach toward Coal Point.

So, instead of heading up the mountain trail, we take a detour under Highway 101…

….leading to Humbug Mountain State Park Campground.

We take the campground road leading to the beach trailhead that weaves back under the highway again.

Brush Creek runs parallel to the trail before merging into the Pacific Ocean.

Jeff finds a driftwood log to test his balance on.

The waves swell and crash onto shore.

Redfish Rocks…

I look north toward Rocky Point wondering if the far cliff to the left is Coal Point. Highway 101 winds through the mist above.

We walk to the group of rocks on the the shoreline, seen in the picture above. High tides bash them and low tides flow through them…

…creating a perfect habitat for the clinging colonies of barnacles, bivalves, sea anemones, seashells, and snails.

My skin still crawls when I come across these beehives of sea life. Yet, I am always amazed and fascinated and can’t stop taking pictures.

Meanwhile we continue walking north until the sandy beach becomes a rocky shore.

We abort our mission to find Coal Point and turn around, heading back toward Humbug Mountain.

Cool moments along the way…

Brush Creek hops, skips, and jumps into the Pacific Ocean.

Redfish Rocks, seagulls, and the creek carving a channel through the sand…

The creek hugging the side of Humbug Mountain…

…as we follow it back through the sand dunes and under the road again.

Rocky Point

Redfish Rocks… Marine Reserve and Marine Protected Area

Shortly after arriving in Port Orford for our 3rd consecutive summer, Jeff and I start looking for volunteer opportunities in the community. On the local radio station I hear about the need for interpretive rangers, a volunteer position to provide awareness and information about the 2.7 square mile Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and the Marine Protected Area that extends another 5 square miles beyond. On May 31st I attend the first training session. (But I will share the rest of this story in a future post…)

Today Jeff and I just want to check out the beach along the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. According to the map, the Reserve extends between Rocky Point to the north and Coal Point to the south.


We drive south on 101 past Battle Rock Beach and look for an unmarked road that takes a jack knife turn down to a trailhead.

Below is a picture taken from the small parking area showing the road leading back up to the highway.

The trailhead down to the beach explains the no fishing restrictions. Clamming, however is permitted above the low tide line, as is beachcombing.

Before taking the trail down to the beach, however, we notice another trail across the guard rail in the parking area. So we explore this first.

This path turns out to be a scenic spur overlooking Rocky Point.

We’ve arrive at low tide. Notice how far the rocks extend beyond the sandy beach… In the distance some of the rocks of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve are visible through the haze.

I take a picture looking north toward Hubbard Creek and Battle Rock Beach.

To the south is Coal Point and Humbug Mountain.

We turn around and head back to the trailhead after deciding not to climb down to the beach from this cliff wearing our old sneakers.

And now we walk down to beach on the proper trail…

Can you see the red spot in the center of the photo below?

Here it is close up a few seconds later…

Another short jaunt…

And the ocean appears…

But to get to the beach, aptly named rocky, we have to climb over driftwood.

As we make our way through the driftwood jungle, I stop and take a picture of the Redfish Rocks.

We descend onto the rocky shoreline and discover tidal pools.

The tide has been out for awhile and there is no interesting sealife to observe.

The rocks reach way out to the sea.

And greet us every step of the way.

We head south and arrive at a l-o-o-o-o-o-ng piece of driftwood.  There’s Jeff standing at the far end.

And here is a view of the same long piece of driftwood taken from the scenic spur above.

As we continue walking south along the shoreline, the rocks on the beach get larger.

And the cliffs overhead show the uplifted stratified rock caused by the lifting of tectonic plates.

Below the cliffs, the shoreline rocks erode into grooves creating highways leading to the sea.

Meanwhile we continue heading south scrambling through the rocks and stepping over tidal pools.

Then I spy a long piece of bull kelp draped dramatically around some larger rocks.

Some powerful waves must have pushed this piece of driftwood ashore.

In the haze, Highway 101 runs across the top of the cliff.

Suddenly a waterfall appears.

And it gurgles its way to the sea.

We turn around and walk back, discovering works of art created by Mother Nature. Checkout this mixed-texture collage below…

Sand collects under crevices in the rocks while seaweed, fresh and old, sunbathes over a piece of driftwood. The yellowed kelp reminds me of a tattered garment.

I can’t think of an appropriate title to name it. Maybe you have one?

The artwork below is titled Kingdom of Cousin Itt.

The fog is lifting and you can see the 6 rocks of the Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve. Usually only 5 are visible.

Below, Highway 101 cuts through the cliffs. It’s still quite hazy to the north. This stretch of the shoreline is less rocky.

But notice the large boulders covered with green lichen on the left side of the photo.

As we pass, I take a close-up shot of the limpet shells and barnacles attached like glue inside the crease of the rock.

And here’s the same picture a few feet away…

We are almost back to the driftwood jungle leading up to the trailhead. I get a good close-up of the Redfish Rocks and the low tide line.

This looks like the spot we need to climb through to reach the trail.

As I stand tall on a pile of driftwood, I take 2 more pictures.

Looking north…

And looking south…

On the far right you can see 2 of the 6 Redfish Rocks.


We return 5 days later to View Rocky Point during high tide.

Here are my photos comparing Rocky Point during low tide and high tide…


Low tide

High tide


Low tide

High tide


Low tide

High tide

…pretty amazing!

Cape Blanco Part Two

North of the Lighthouse

We park the car in a grassy turnout,  across from the road leading to the Cape Blanco State Park Campground, and enter the North trails trailhead. It’s 11:30 in the morning.

Today we plan on hiking to the mouth of the Sixes River and then return along the beach just below the Lighthouse.

So, it’s over the meadow and through the woods, with viewpoints of the beach below along the way… the same beach on which we will return.

Can you find the Cape Blanco Lighthouse in the picture below?

Somewhere out there is the mouth of the Sixes River. The promontory jutting out to sea is Blacklock Point.

We return to the trail…

The tree below demonstrates how wickedly the winds blast through here.

Another short spur with an ocean view…

The pine forest greets us with a colorful display…

Jeff finds an unusual rock sitting on tree limbs…

We continue through the forest…

It’s 12:00 when we head toward the Sixes River…

Foxgloves are blooming…

We reach the Castle Beach Trailhead at 12:30. Free range cows graze here but we don’t see any as we make our way to the ocean.

Ten minutes later…

There’s Cape Blanco in the distance below. Can you find the Lighthouse?

Castle Rock and the mouth of the Sixes River are further north. We make our way through the driftwood-littered beach to see them up close.

We turn around and walk south along the beach toward the Lighthouse.

I take pictures of the amazing beach landscapes we encounter, far and near…

Note the rocks in the foreground below.

Now share my amazement of the same rocks, close up…

A mosaic of “glued” shells, barnacles, and smaller rocks…

I try to pry loose some limpet shells but they are unwilling.

Sprays from crashing waves…

And where did this come from?

Barnacles still line its crevices…

And challenge Jeff to climb…

It’s 1:00 now. The beach is mellow today, the winds are calm.

Sometimes we walk through a Zen-like garden of rocks and rippled sand…

And sometimes we crush through a colorful rough patch of sea stones waiting to be discovered…

I look up and recognize the forest…

The rocks below are covered with old barnacles and mussels that fascinate me and gross me out at the same time…

I look up and recognize the meadow…

The Lighthouse and a haystack rock…

The Lighthouse focuses into view…

Kelp attached to barnacles, or barnacles attached to kelp…?

Sea foam..

Kelp or seaweed? Or both?

Both…

Catching surf perch…

The Lighthouse looms closer overhead…

We approach the trail leading from the beach back up to the Lighthouse gate…

Can you see where all the barnacles and shells cling to the rocks below?

A tangle of mussel shells attached to kelp…

The rocks below are a beautiful shade of green…

At 1:35 we recognize the driftwood entrance to the trail leading up to the Lighthouse gate…

We walk another 1/4 mile along the road to our parked car.


Some rocks and shells… including an agate, a tiny sand dollar, and blue sea glass.

Jeff posts the Oregon painted rock on Facebook but takes it down after he is deluged with comments.

He decides to hide it again…

Got Sand?

Paradise Point to the Mouth of the Elk River

Recently we hiked south from Cape Blanco to the mouth of the Elk River. So… today we decide to walk to Paradise Point and trek north along the beach to the mouth of the Elk River.

It’s a beautiful, sunny day and the sky is so blue. The colorful spring flowers beg me to take their picture. We pass by Garrison Lake twice as we make our way to Paradise Point.

A little over a mile later we descend onto Agate Beach. The time is 11:02…

The sand is is so deep. The wind blasts us from the north. Tiny pebbles pummel us as we slowly slog our way toward the tributary of the Elk River.

A half hour later we are enjoying the view of sandy cliffs and driftwood washed ashore by high tides…

And we continue for another half hour, still amazed by the cliffs dripping with sand…

Meanwhile, the wind creates ripples of sand on the shore and the waves wash up pulverized pieces sea debris…

…stinging us in the face as we trudge forward. I can hear the sand hitting our jackets and sunglasses.

We slog, on tasting and smelling the sand as it flies by our noses and enters our mouths through gritted teeth.

The view of the carved cliffs along the shore keeps us happy and urges us forward.

The crashing waves entertain us.

Driftwood buried in drifts of sand intrigue us.

Finally we reach the place where the Elk River starts winding its way through the sand.

Free range cows from a neighboring farm mosey down to the beach.

We can’t be too far from the mouth of the Elk River now, can we?

Another half hour of slogging…

More driftwood buried in drifting sand…

I look back in the direction from where we started.

More driftwood ahead…

We’re both tired from the wind… But we have come too far to turn back. So we continue slogging north, hoping we are close.

Another half hour goes by…

The Elk River continues carving a channel to the sea.

…Until sand dunes block the view…

Here’s a good example of what the sand actually looks like. Notice how it is mixed with billions of tiny particles of shells and rocks ground down by the powerful forces of waves and wind.

In the distance is Cape Blanco, the landform jutting out into the ocean. Look closely and you can barely make out the Lighthouse sitting atop the green cliff to the right of the sandstone edge.

Directly in front of us is the litter of driftwood deposited by high tides.

Closer to shore this embedded piece of wood stands stoically while getting pounded by waves.

And we’re still not there yet!

But the river is visible again cutting through the sand along the cliffs. There’s more driftwood collections.

At last… Eureka, we find it! I zoom in and take a picture of the Elk River getting swallowed up by the Pacific Ocean.

Cape Blanco appears in the upper left of the photo below. Needle Rock rises proudly beneath it. The Lighthouse stands on the promontory to the left of Needle Rock.

We encounter 4 men with 2 ATVs. They passed us along the beach about an hour ago.

Three of them are catching surf perch and they let me take pictures.

As I watch and take pictures, they catch about 5 fish in a matter of several minutes.

Jeff and I walk up to the mouth of the river and sit on some driftwood, spill the sand out of our shoes, and shake out our socks.

As we head back to Paradise Point, the 4th man offers us a ride back to Paradise Point on his ATV. He is not fishing and knows how long it will take us to walk back along the beach. He has room for one passenger at a time and doesn’t mind driving us back in 2 trips.

Yes! Thank you! Really? Are you sure?

His ATV has a cargo bed so we spare him 2 trips. I sit in the passenger’s seat and Jeff rides in back.

Yes! Thank you!

As we ride back to Paradise Point I try to get a picture of Jeff in the cargo bed in the overhead mirrors, but I am not successful.

Here is our Good Samaritan, Larry Brown, dropping us off at Paradise Point!

Now it’s just a mile to home, sweet home…

Our catch of the day…

Oh, but what you cannot see is the sand we caught in our hair, ears, mouths, clothes, bodies, shoes, socks…

Something’s Fishy

“Fishy, fishy in the brook…”

The fishy is a rainbow trout and actually it was caught in Garrison Lake.

“Papa caught it on a hook…”

Actually, our neighbor, Kenneth caught it with his fishing rod.

“Mama fries it in a pan…”

Oh hell, no! Jeff fillets the trout and cooks it.

“Baby eats it like a man…”

“Jeff shows Kenneth the cooked pan…”

Then we eat it as fast as we can!