Tag Archive | beachcombing

Westport Weekend: June 2019

June 21 – 23, 2019

Last year I went to the beach at Westport, Washington on the weekend of the summer solstice!  We wanted to ring in the beginning of summer in style!  Now mind you, the coast in Washington in the summer is not guaranteed to be warm, and may be downright freezing, so don’t be expecting any photos of shorts and people lounging in the sand.  We still had a great time!

Lelani and I left work early on Friday and drove down; we were camping and wanted to make sure that we had plenty of time to get set up and get dinner made.  Other friends were joining us too!  She headed down to my work to pick me up and we stopped off for lunch at Kona Kitchen, a great Hawaiian place near my work!  We soon found out that we might have been better off eating on the road…

As usual, traffic in Seattle on a Friday afternoon was terrible, but at least we were entertained by tracking our progress against “the head”…

We camped at one of the Loge Resorts (yes, my spelling is correct); if you haven’t been to one, they have been converting old motels into new hipster-chic facilities.  The one we stayed at had camping (both tent and small RV sites), hotel rooms, and a hostel dormitory.  There was a stage with music on weekends, fire pits, and communal BBQ’s.  It was a fun place to stay, and the tent site was covered; that came in handy because it rained!  Drawbacks were the fact that you were approximately 4 feet from your neighbor in the next tent site over.  My neighbor snored, so the earplugs I always carry when I travel came in handy.

Saturday we checked out the harbor, where we watched people crabbing and fishing, and listened to the seabirds overhead.  We went to the beach too, and enjoyed some time spent searching for sand dollars and walking the beach.  You don’t have to spend too much time searching for sand dollars there; you really just have to wander around picking them up, as the beach is covered with them!  If you go though, make sure to only collect the dead ones, which are already white or a faded tan color; the live ones are a purplish black color.

That afternoon we visited the Gray’s Harbor Lighthouse – you can climb to the top and see the view, and the third-order Fresnel lens.  The lighthouse was completed in March 1898, and stands 107 feet tall with 135 steps to get to the top.  It is worth it though – that view!  Originally, the Gray’s Harbor Lighthouse sat about 400 feet from the waterline, in the last 120 years, the beach has experienced significant accretion, so it is now about 4,000 feet from the water!  I always enjoy seeing lighthouses when I travel and I especially appreciate when I can climb to the top.

We also visited the Westport Winery; they have an extensive tasting list consisting of a few whites, lots of reds and several fruit wines.  They had a sparkling wine that I really liked, and I purchased a couple of bottles to take home.  That evening we made a delicious dinner of steak shish-ka-bobs and corn on the cob, and ate our dinner while watching a guitarist perform on the outdoor stage.  It was fun to see!

Then, before dark, we headed out to the beach to watch the sunset and have a campfire on the beach.  See all those clouds in the photo below?  That made for a pretty much non-existent sunset, but oh well!  It was still pretty, but it was soooo cold and windy that night!  I really had to bundle up!  Are you sure this is summer?

The next morning Lelani and I went for an early morning walk on the beach before we packed up our gear to head home.  We found a little restaurant downtown, where I had hashbrowns, eggs, and fried oysters; it was so delicious!  About noon, we got on the road for another long, trafficky drive home…  What a great weekend though!

 

Oregon Coast 2015: Beer, Beach and Beer!

At the end of May Jon and I had the good fortune of going on a weekend camping trip with my family on the Oregon Coast. It was my parents, my brother and sister in law, and my two nieces and nephew. What a fun time!

Jon and I started our drive down in the early afternoon on Friday – he had to work until 1 pm. The traffic was absolutely terrible! What should be a two hour drive turned into four hours and 15 minutes along the notoriously crappy Puget Sound I-5 corridor – YUCK! That meant that we rolled in late for a beer at the Fort George Brewing Company in Astoria, Oregon.

The rows of windows at the Fort George Brewery!

The rows of windows at the Fort George Brewery!

The Fort George Brewing Company is located at the original fort site in Astoria, from when it was founded in 1811.  For years, it served as the primary fur trading post in the Northwest for the Pacific Fur Company.  Obviously, the current building wasn’t there then; the current building was built in 1924 and was originally a service station.  I love when companies re-purpose old buildings and preserve the history!

Jon ate dinner at the brewery, but I had succumbed to hunger hours before and had a fast food dinner on the road. I still had dessert though – in the form of two Willapa Bay oyster shooters – Delicious! I had the Divinity – a Belgian style wheat beer made with berries – and Jon had two; the 3-Way IPA and the Cavatica Stout.

We both enjoyed our beers very much, but we couldn’t linger too long as we still had over an hour of driving in the dark, before we finally reached the campground.

Thankfully, my Dad had set up our tent for us, so all we had to do was arrange our sleeping pads and bags, brush our teeth, and snuggle into bed. Where I promptly froze half to death all night, while watching Jon sleep peacefully next to me. That man can sleep through anything!

The cold night reaffirmed why I’m not a “camper,” because of course, being cold and not sleeping just meant that I lay there thinking about how I needed to go to the bathroom, and then I had to get out of the sleeping bag, get out of the tent, put shoes on, find a flashlight, walk to the bathroom, and go back and repeat the whole process in reverse. Can anybody else relate?  How does this beat a hotel?

But enough about my love of camping…

After a very early morning, vegging out like a zombie with a mug of hot coffee for a while, the morning was spent beach combing with the kids.  We found and picked up a million broken sand dollars and mussel shells, and saw a bunch of these little jelly blobs that looked like the bottom of a soda bottle. Like they had been molded. I still don’t know what they were. My nephew took a face plant in the water and decided that digging in the sand above the waterline was a much more fun option. I can’t blame him – it was a pretty cold morning!

The beach at Nehalem Bay, on a cool, cloudy morning

The beach at Nehalem Bay, on a cool, cloudy morning

The strangest molded jellyfish! Anybody know what this is? There were dozens of them.

The strangest molded jellyfish! Anybody know what this is? There were dozens of them.

Shortly before lunch, Jon and I headed out to explore some of the Oregon coast sights.

A Spotted Towhee (Northwest coast morph) near the beach at Nehalem Bay

A Spotted Towhee (Northwest coast morph) near the beach at Nehalem Bay

Pelican Brewery

We started out with two Netarts oyster shooters each, and we both had elk burgers for lunch at Pelican Brewery – mine was topped with feta – YUM! I had the beer sampler, with six of their regular selections, and my choice of a seventh beer.  I chose the “Meet the Flockers” wheat beer.

Beer Sampler - so many choices!

Beer Sampler – so many choices!

I enjoyed all of them, but my favorites were the Scottish Style Ale and the Brown Ale. Jon enjoyed the Imperial IPA. We sat out on the patio, where the weather had warmed from the morning, and I just let the heat sink into my cold, tired bones (don’t I sound like I’m 80!).

My Netarts Oyster Shooters at Pelican Brewery

My Netarts Oyster Shooters at Pelican Brewery

My Elk Burger at Pelican Brewery - simple and delicious!

My Elk Burger at Pelican Brewery – simple and delicious!

All in all, a great morning of relaxing.  But we weren’t done for the day!

 

Olympic National Park: Rialto Beach

After our trip to the Hoh Rain Forest, we decided to head over to Rialto Beach.  Rialto Beach is one of the coastal areas within Olympic National Park, near the town of La Push, Washington, and just north of the mouth of the Quillayute River.  The area is the ancestral home of the Quileute Tribe, who still live on a small reservation in La Push.

At the Mouth of the Quillayute River

At the Mouth of the Quillayute River

Rialto Beach is covered with driftwood, from small pieces all the way up to huge driftwood logs.  The waves crash onto the beach in this area, making it a perfect place to sit and listen to the sound of the rushing water.  It is the sound of a seashell held up to your ear.  There is something soothing about the sound of crashing waves, and I found all my worries drifting away as Jon and I sat on a driftwood log and just listened.

Trees Grow Right Up to the Edge of Rialto Beach

Trees Grow Right Up to the Edge of Rialto Beach

Piddles the Traveling Owl Relaxing at Rialto Beach

Piddles the Traveling Owl Relaxing at Rialto Beach

Someone Built a Driftwood Fort at Rialto Beach

Someone Built a Driftwood Fort at Rialto Beach

I love the little stack of rocks on this driftwood log - Rialto Beach

I love the little stack of rocks on this driftwood log – Rialto Beach

A Young Woman Enjoying the Beauty at Rialto Beach

A Young Woman Enjoying the Beauty at Rialto Beach

It was a gorgeous sunny day, and warm enough that I could take my jacket off!  The views are spectacular, from the seastacks in the distance to the driftwood right beneath your feet.  This was easily one of my favorite places on our Olympic National Park trip.