Friday, January 27, 2012

Memories of Short Sand Beach

Short Sands Beach, Oregon

Seeking aerial images of the sand burial site at Waldport, Oregon I posted on yesterday caused me to meander around and look at some other images of the Oregon coast. (Yes, this is not the Washington Landscape, but Washington used to be part of the same territory as Oregon up to 1853 and geologically we share with Oregon living on the same plate boundary with the Juan de Fucca Plate subducting beneath us.) 

One site I checked out was Short Sands Beach. I have visited this beach three times. All three times were in the winter and all three times were semi epic. The above picture is clearly taken in the summer - a nice wide sandy beach.

My first venture to this beach involved traversing the beach from south to north to check out the headlands to the north. On the return I noted a very large wave at the head of the small bay. Not sure why it caught my attention and I did not yet know the term rogue wave, but I suggested running for the woods would be a very good idea. My companion did not share my concern and decided that escaping the water could be accomplished by scrambling up onto a 6-foot diameter driftwood log at the top of the beach versus smashing through the jungle at the top of the beach. I turned around just in time to see the recognition on my companion's face that the wave was high enough that it was floating the log. A brief lumberjack act ensued before my friend tumbled off the log fortunately in the right direction as the wave began to pull back and rolled the entire massive log down the beach and into the sea with my friend not far behind. Another wave rolled in. The water was full of logs and the cobbles under foot were all rolling so foot purchase was minimal. I had tossed the backpack and went into this mess to try to assist and we stumbled back up into the woods out of reach of the waves and logs. A bit of a chilly hike out after our unexpected soak.

My second trip had a different result. I decided to camp along the coast during the winter despite the freezing rain as cold arctic air was pouring out of the Columbia River Gorge and reaching all the way to the coast during one of the coldest winters in Pacific Northwest history. But the real trouble was after setting up camp and realizing that a particularly virulent strain of the Asian flu that had been sweeping the nation had found me. By the time I hiked out, I gained an understanding of fever induced delirium I would prefer not to repeat anytime soon.

My third trip is still told with great enhancement by my brother Mike. We were staying a bit to the north at Cannon Beach and I suggested that Short Sands Beach was nice day hike. Being leery of the rogue wave issue we stuck to the forest trail. Only problem was that a major windstorm sometime since my last visit had obliterated the trail with downed massive trees. Hence we were compelled to climb and crawl over lots of large downed wood. Upon arrival at the headlands, none of my companions were impressed with the condition of what I had described as a trail on the exposed headland. A wave of cold rain and wind began to wrack us. On the trek back Lisa and Mike came up with the idea that I could start a tour group company called Odysseus Travels implying that survival was not part of the package. 

All said, Short Sands Beach looks like a great place. It has been a long time since I have been there; perhaps I will give it another try in the summer versus the middle of winter.    

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