Wednesday, April 14, 2010
On the week-end, Farm Boss and I drove to the beach for a one day outing. We didn't plan what we'd do but just headed down after the morning chores. We left the farm a little after 10, got to Newport, found a place for a light lunch to eat while watching the waves, and then began to drive north along the coast.
While I had expected stormy weather, it turned out to be a wonderful day in the low 60s with lots of sunshine. After stopping at Neskowin to walk on the sand getting some photos of Proposal Rock and some wonderful wave action, wading a bit in the ocean, we drove a bit farther north.
When we came to the Little Nestucca River, I became curious about how much farther it would take to get to a place that was part of my childhood-- Pacific City.
When I was a little girl, I was in Woods (a tiny community a mile up the Nestucca River from Pacific City) quite often. Granddad had built a small home there. My grandparents actually lived one year in basically what was a wood-floored, cabin type tent with a big wood cookstove for heat while he built their small two bedroom cottage looking toward the river. A path led to the dock where he kept a little boat.
To walk to the beach, we could take a trail over the hill and through some dunes. Saturday I found some of that still looks the same and some has changed completely-- not surprising considering how many years it's been.
There were other beaches driving distance where you crossed forested ground to what seemed like pristine beaches, never touched by humans (well so it seemed) and where after storms, you could find, besides lots of shells, the big glass balls that the Japanese fishermen used to secure their nets and which had ridden the currents to land on our beaches. One still sets in my living room.
Part of being down there was a place called Sand Lake owned by one family. The daughter lived out there while her parents lived near my grandparents. Sand Lake was a special place. Talk about energy vortexes and it could well be one of them although its natural beauty could also explain the energy there. Years later Farm Boss and I camped there with our children when for awhile it was a campground still run by that family.Saturday when we crossed the bridge to the island, we didn't know that the family who had owned the land all those years had worked together with government entities to secure it forever as a combination of sanctuary for humans and wildlife. It is one of only two natural, non-agricultural estuaries still left along the Oregon Coast.
After we had parked and looked around, Farm Boss and I didn't know where the trail would go, or even how long it would be, but we started walking. It wound through the forest with views off and on through the trees of the estuary to our right. Finally it arrived at the sand where beyond we could see the ocean. It wasn't a long walk as the island is only about one mile long. I am not sure how we would have gotten to the ocean waves other than maybe swimming the creek although with a higher tide, it might have been nearer to us. I will be going back often to check it out in various tides and seasons.
We learned more about its history after we got home and did some internet research. It could have all ended up the homes of the rich. It's such a beautiful piece of land that it would be easy to have seen that happening. Instead, it, like many other natural wonders along Oregon's coastline, is there for all time as an example of government working together with individuals to secure space for future generations to experience what I got to experience as a child.
Today, with a nice parking area, no fees, picnic tables, pit toilets, Whalen Island (I never knew it by that name) presents a lovely place to reconnect with nature. It was inspiring to me how that one family, through its generations, managed to hold the land together in such a way that my Saturday exploration would be possible. It is visible evidence of what government can and does do for us all.
(Other than ocean waves and Proposal Rock, all photos are from Whalen Island)