Tuesday, September 13, 2011

sand in my shoes

there had been talk about a trip to the coast for a while, somehow the stars aligned in a perfect aspect yesterday afternoon, and four of us were on the road west...

as resiliency rangers, we are all working to learn additional useful skills, including identifying and foraging for various kinds of wild foods; even now, there is much to be found in the Pacific NW whether you look around the city, in the woods, or on the coast. The plan was to see what could be found on some of the local beaches, such as shellfish or sea vegetables, and if possible, S also intended to bring home seawater to boil down and make salt...

We live a fair distance from the western sea (I always remember my late friend G, who when asked for directions to his home, would say "head west, and when you reach the ocean, turn left...") Did just that, following the road that parallels the Columbia River, and by the time our plucky band reached Astoria, it was long past lunchtime; while the renowned fish-n-chips boat was closed, we found a funky snack shack instead...
halibut, and clam strips, and frozen custard

look how faraway the other shore is...

Astoria has the last bridge across the Columbia before the coast. (I drove across it in 2009, while sightseeing when my mom came to visit.) This time, south along the coast instead... Another stop for necessary and useful information, S and B got shellfish licenses, and a "clam gun", and we headed further south to the next county, for legal foraging. Rather than drive all the way to Tillamook Bay, we stopped somewhere round about Nehalem;

on a grey Monday afternoon,
there were not a lot of other folks at the beach

down near the waterline,
S and B look for clams

S and V confer,
there are no clams to be found

Despite not finding any clams, we had a great time mucking about on shore anyway, and did find some edible seaweed (I still need to retrieve my share later today, to photograph and write about)... then back to the van, and northwards a bit to Arcadia, where our intrepid rangers ended their day with a picnic supper on the beach. The light was almost gone, and the air was filling with misty moisture as we clambered down steps and scrambled down to the soft sand below.

By the time we were settled in, and a fire lit, it was full dark, and a storybook moment indeed, with good friends and good talk...

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