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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Stacks and Driftwood

~Thursday, October 6, 2022~

Day 844

Checking the calendar, we still have a few gaps in our early 2023 schedule, and were able to fill 1 of the 3…..a location in the bayou of Louisiana. Our original planned site turned out to have pretty bad reviews in the end, and since we rely heavily on those, found a much better alternative. Wanting to optimize our time on the Olympic Peninsula, we came up with a plan for that as well. You could easily spend 2 weeks here which is especially tempting with the weather so good.

The afternoon was filled with a trip to Forks (about 20 minutes away), for some light grocery shopping and inspecting potential dump stations we will need at the end of our trip (have to scout those things out ahead of time). Bingo! And only $5.

One of the most recommended beaches to visit on the Olympic Peninsula is Ruby Beach, famous for its unique beauty and intriguing sea stacks…….so off we went to spend a day in the mist. We actually preferred it to sunny skies since it added more interest to our surroundings and in turn the photos.

What a gorgeous flat beach that looked like glass…….flat, smooth sand, shimmering with just the right amount of light. Under our feet, it felt spongy and soothing! As far as the eye could see, driftwood occupied much of the cliff base. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a beach with that much driftwood on it. Imagine all the things you could do with that stuff…..rustic beams in a home, a base for a unique coffee table, a sculpture, forts for kids….the possibilities are endless!

It seems the trend upon arrival is to head to the right, so we went the opposite direction. What we found was an empty beach all to ourselves and a ton of space for Sadie to chase her chosen stick. The waves would be a handy cool off when she needed it. We’ve always found tide pools worthy of investigation with always so many interesting things going on. We discovered spiny sea urchins, anemones and hard shelled limpets making a temporary home on the jagged rocks until their return to the sea.

We’d later find out that most of the intriguing beach “architecture” was in the opposite direction, explaining why most everyone was headed that way when we arrived. Getting up close to the sea stacks that looked so mysterious from afar, really were intriguing.

I had no idea Ruby Beach sea stacks are the most iconic in the U.S. These vertical columns of rock, some massive, some small, were formed from hundreds of years of wave erosion and wind with Abbey Island being the most photographed at this location. It was also a notable place to watch sea otters and a variety of birds, including a hawk. On that stretch of beach, in addition to the sea stacks we also found it host to many other things……polished glass (picked up a few for a necklace), a completely intact spruce tree, root system and all that begged climbing on. Did it come from the ocean or had it fallen from the cliff above long ago? In any case, it looked like it had been there a while. As we continued our walk, something else made an appearance through the mist……and it wasn’t another sea stack. Oh no! A beached humpback whale.

It appeared to have beached recently since there were no marks of scavenging and such. And so young… adolescent. Had it become sick? Did it become lost? Did it die out at sea or die from being beached? And what do they do with these large deceased mammals? In my research, most are towed back out to sea to fulfill nature's course which in turn enriches the deep seafloor, or are buried in the sand. I keep checking to see if there is anything in the news about it, and since there isn’t, imagine this to be a recent event.

With the fog coming in and the wind picking up a bit, it was time to head back. What a beautiful, warm evening, warranting a lovely cocktail hour and fun horderves OUTSIDE before dinner…..something we haven’t really gotten to do all summer. And I think we’re in for a full moon while we’re here!

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