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Life in Oregon: Das Beach

Last weekend, gidget23 invited me to go out to the beach and hang with the local goth/industrial crowd.

Now, I've been to beaches before. In fact, I used to live in Tampa, Florida, so I've been to beaches that are claimed to be the best beaches in the world before. So I think I can be forgiven for believing that I had some sort of idea what "going to the beach" is like.

I'm not much of a beach person, so the internal dialog went something like "-1 for beach, -27 for getting up at 10 AM to make it happen, +10 for meeting the local goth/industrial peeps, +30 for spending time with gidget23, -1 for not knowing where the place is, +2 for iPhone GPS win, -10 for 'it's going to be really cold, dress warmly!'...that adds up to a net positive, so what the hell. Sure!"

Little did I know.

You see, Gentle Reader, they do not do beaches here in the Pacific Northwest the way they do beaches in Florida.

The Pacific Northwest is all about rugged natural scenic beauty. It's a little silly, in fact, just how beautiful this place is. Imagine, if you will, a temperate rainforest that comes right up to the coast, and stops at the sheer cliff face that marks the beginning of the beach, and...

Yeah. Not like Florida at all.

I sadly neglected to bring my real camera, and had to content myself with the camera in my iPhone. The iPhone camera does a pretty good job with even lighting, but struggles hard with unusual or challening lighting conditions, like backlighting.

Anyway, this is a rock. A big-ass volcanic rock just jutting up out of the beach. It's probably about two and a half or three stories high at the uppermost point, and my god, is it gorgeous.


The rock has this really cool planar stress geometry, and fractures in these really interesting cleave patterns. When pieces break off, they're a bright red rust color inside, which fades to a darker color when it's exposed. Rich in iron, I reckon.

I hear there's a big future in iron, though I don't know why we have to keep changing things all the time. I mean, bronze has been good enough for me, and it was good enough for my father, and this newfangled iron stuff is dangerous and hard to work with, and...

Ahem. Anyway, this chunk of rock is so friggin' cool that if I had unlimited time, I can see myself dedicating three or four years to learning about geology and chemistry and materials science just so I could understand it better.

And CAVES! Did I mention this beach has caves?

Yes, that's the entrance to a cave. Not a very big one, but still... Caves! At the beach! How cool is that?

The view from another opening on the other side of the outcropping. This particular cave is underwater at high tide, which is also pretty cool. The 10-year-old me would have been absolutely delighted, dreaming of pirates and lost treasure; the adult me is, if anything, even more delighted.

Caves! At the beach!

This narrow crevasse fissure opens up into a larger chamber beyond; it was a fairly difficult scrabble, but totally worth it. Too dark to get any pics inside; the iPhone camera has no flash.

The view looking down from the top of that big chunk of rock.

The 20-year-old me used to free-climb buildings, which kind of makes the current me shiver sometimes. The 20-year-old me was definitely laughing at the current me with the amount of effort it took to get to the top, but no matter. The current me has a laptop computer and the Internet and a cell phone that's also a computer, so I think the current me wins.

I like the sand castles arranged like a line marching to the sea.

Okay, seriously, a waterfall at the beach? That's just scenic beauty overkill. At this point, the landscape is just showing off.

Upstream of the waterfall, and it's still ridiculously gorgeous.

If I live to be ten thousand years old, I will never stop being awestruck at how awesome life is. One tiny little insignificant speck of a universe vast and magnificent beyond human comprehension, and even that little speck is able to blow my mind with the beauty of the physical universe. How can life ever be anything but a constant celebration of wonder?

I saw a tiny little plant growing up between the stones that tend to litter the base of the cliffs around northwestern beaches, and I just have to say:


( 43 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 19th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
Cool. Glad you liked the beach.

Can you put it all under a cut now? :) Some of us have sucky internet connections. :)
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:24 am (UTC)
Das Beach!

One of these days I will make it out to one of those. We have a lot of physical friends/acquaintances in common now I guess!
Aug. 19th, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)
Absolutely gorgeous!

However the term crevasse, while very cool, only applies to glaciers and icebergs.
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
Iiiiinteresting. I've just learned something new about the English language!
Aug. 19th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)
Did you see any wild life out there? That's ridiculously beautiful up in the Pacific Northwest, as well. When I went up to BC for a visit we saw many colors (sorry, that would be 'colours' up there) of starfish at the beach, along with some otters. Not sure which animals hang out in Oregon, but I guarantee you they aren't the same as the ones that hang out in Florida. And are the rocks at the beach magnetic? Might be worth another trip out to test and see. *bouncy bouncy*

And thank you for taking us with you through your LJ. I really enjoy getting the Franklin Tour. :D
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
Nothing larger than barnacles and mussels, sadly.

I don't know if the rocks are magnetic, but it would be fascinating to find out. Now I have to go back!
(no subject) - wilson_lizard - Aug. 27th, 2009 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 19th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)
Florida's beaches are like its weather climate; Oregon's the same way. I'll take the former when I need constancy and a place to relax, and the latter for when I want a real, live, memorable vacation.

....and just wait until late May and early June, when the roses come into their full glory.
Aug. 19th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
My wife and I walked on a beach of Tofino (a peninsula of Victoria Island) some years back. It was crawling with an amazing profusion of life - every stable rock surface covered with mussels, barnacles, and other sessile forms, with assorted crabs, worms, anemones, snails, and other creatures crawling among them. It was amazing, very different from our local New Jersey beaches where seagulls and greenhead flies are the only wildlife. A real testament to how productive those cold northern seas can be. My wife was freaked out though ("All these things, who put them there?") and wouldn't eat the mussels I brought back to the cabin to cook. "How do you know they're fresh?"
Aug. 19th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Fresh!?! Bwahahahahahaha!!!
(no subject) - tacit - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 19th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
Oregon is beautiful pretty much everywhere you go, it seems. I went out there last year with one of my sweeties (her family takes a trip out there every year.) I grew up on the East Coast, so the idea of it being cold at the beach in July was really a new one to me!

Anyway, those are really great pictures.
Aug. 19th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Nice icon. Like coffee much?
(no subject) - awfulhorrid - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 19th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous, simply gorgeous.

Aug. 19th, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
Ok, I have to ask...what kind of Goth/Industrial kids hang out at the beach during the day, let alone get up at 10:00am to do it??? lol.

The beaches in Oregon are beautiful. I lived in Portland for a few years, but sadly only got out to the beach once or twice. I saw a tide pool there for the first time! (I live right outside of Tampa right now, and had previously to going to Oregon) so yeah...so wasn't expecting the rocks or the tide pools. I was used to seeing dried up star fish in baskets at hokey little tourist traps, not vibrant PURPLE starfish stuck to the side of a tide pool. Sadly, I didn't have a camera. Thanks for sharing!
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
Heh. Goth/industrial kids who scuttle away from the sun in the shelter of the cliff face.

Aug. 19th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
Which beach was this? I'm making a list for my road trip.
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:55 pm (UTC)
I don't actually know. gidget23 was driving, so I'm about clueless. It's over an hour from Portland, for what that's worth.
(no subject) - gidget23 - Aug. 21st, 2009 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 19th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
Oregon beaches are breathtaking. My partner joedecker led a 5 day photo workshop along the Oregon coast in March and I was one of the participants. It was pretty amazing (and he's going to do the workshop again next year.)
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, that sounds like a LOT of fun!
Aug. 19th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Wow...amazingly beautiful. Great photos too, even if they were on an iphone. :)
Aug. 19th, 2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:44 pm (UTC)
Wow, awesome!
(no subject) - violet_tigress1 - Aug. 19th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 19th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
Job 37:14, KJV. Just about covers it. Yep. Oughtta be on signs in places like this. Just sayin'.

Fantastic pics, man-- i'm envious. You should try your hand at travel writing... i mean, for like, money and stuff.
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
Ye gods. I think my writing style is a bit...unconventional for travel writing. :) But thanks!
(no subject) - jaime29 - Aug. 20th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Heh. Climbing rocks is a very different experience, I think (though some of the differences may be in me as well).
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( 43 comments — Leave a comment )