Thursday, December 5, 2013

South Jetty hike

As I write this (Star Date: 12/5/2013), the temperature has dropped below 20 degrees and snow is on the way. The cold outside smacks my cheeks like a slap from a half-thawed squid. I would have used "outraged diva" instead of the squid but that simile was used a couple of postings ago and I don't want to plagiarize myself, ergo the squid. Anyway, it's cold and I'd be happy to spend all my indoor time next to the living room fire but Dollie would get mad because we don't have a fireplace.  So, as I type this, desperately wrapped tightly inside 4 bathrobes like a weenie in a corn dog, I seek warmth by embracing happier and warmer memories from times long last weekend!

Head in parking instead of head in....?
Life's a beach, or so they say, and it had been many years since I last hiked on the coast south of Florence so it was time for another visit. The weather prediction tended towards cloudy and dark (just like me!) with a 30% chance of, naturally there wasn't a cloud in the sky when I parked on the South Jetty Road and began my hike on a sunny and brisk morning.

On top of the beach world
After climbing the grassy foredune on a well used track, I dropped down onto the beach. The tide was a couple of hours past high tide and the beach was wide and flat (just like me!). It seems the foredunes are taller every time I get out to the coast and these grassy dunes were about 30 feet high or so, maybe even higher.

Kindred spirits except for the distance walked

There was another hiker about a half-mile ahead of me and we hiked at the same pace for a mile or so, at which point she turned around and headed back to the parking lot. At the various parking lots along the jetty road, other beachgoers were out enjoying the crisp autumn day but nobody else besides me hiked all the way to the jetty.

Fly away from the guy with the clicky thingy

After several miles, the only company I had were seagulls, helicopter patrols, and my own idle thoughts. It was peaceful and I was happily spending the morn in my "nothing box", that comfy little place men have where they think about nothing at all. The steady roar of the waves was a soothing and steady sonic background to the rhythm of the hike. Clouds formed overhead, occasionally blocking out the sun but the predicted storm never materialized.

The Siuslaw River
At just over 4 miles, the South Jetty hove into view, with small waves splashing on the jetty rocks. The Siuslaw River was contained between the north and south jetties and fathers were teaching the fine art of fishing to their children, their fishing lines arcing gracefully with each cast. The jetty is a happy place and the laughter of delighted children filled the air as future cherished family memories were created. The river was carrying a pretty good flow and the war between outgoing river current and incoming ocean was fun to watch what with random waves forming in the river.

The best sand for walking
After a lollygag and lunch at this happy place, it was time to head back down the beach. The sun had gotten lower in the sky and in the afternoon light the sea glinted silver like an anchorman's hairpiece under studio lights. The tide had receded even more and there were acres of sand between the water line and the foredunes. The next 4 plus miles were spent picking out the hard sand (and easier hiking) near the retreating sea. Occasionally waves chased me back up the beach. Lots of photography ensued.

A family enjoys the beach
Seagulls waded in the shallow water near the shore or just simply contemplated the restless sea, content in their own little vapid seagull "nothing box." Occasionally, sloppy piles of crab parts indicated where a gull feast took place, and yes, crabs were harmed in the process. At the 8.5 mile mark, the well-used track to the parking lot made an appearance as the clouds became a little more persistent. Winter would come but not on this fine day.  That's it for this report and now it's back to the hunt for warmth and please pass me the kindling and matches.

Tidal flats
For more pictures of this hike please visit the Flickr album.

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