Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cape Kiwanda Tide Pools

On the south side of Cape Kiwanda, old sea floor basalt pillows house all sorts of critters in their nooks and crannies. These particular tide pools are well-loved, and probably over-loved, as most of the barnacles have been worn off the top of the rocks by scrambling feet. But the sides and underhangs are doing fine, covered extravagantly buy mussels, starfish, snails, anenomes, seaweed...

I found one starfish squeezing some mussels like a hand. It's popping the shell, and if I remember right, the starfish's stomach comes out of the "palm" and digests the mussel muscle(sorry, couldn't resist!).
Of course it was the "worst" time of day to take pictures--high noon--but I had fun experimenting to see how attempt to balance the deep shadows and over exposed sunny parts. I liked the shapes made by reflections and light and shadows on the water and the textures of the rock covered with living things.
The anenomes are balled up tight against the sun and drying wind. They are the olive green ball-shaped things with bits of shell which they "grab" (somehow!) to camoflage themselves. The same kind are open in the water below.
Most of the "good" tide pool spots--by that I mean a big area with deep creviced rock in an easily accessible popular beach(in the end they're all fun!)--have either naturalists or rangers, or at least signs to show people how to explore tidepools without damaging them. So generally people are careful, and the tidepools remain naturally wonderful.

I can't wait to go back on a cloudy day!

PS click on the pix for the detail! ;0)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cape Kiwanda

Today we went on my son's "Getting Out of Seventh Grade WooHoo Field Trip" to Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon Coast, which is directly west of our house by about 25 or so crow miles. Or about an hour and a half by school-bus-filled-with-seventh-graders-and-an-ear-plugged-bus-driver-swaying-round-curves-on-two-wheels. (ha! it wasn't that bad!)

A big dune backs up the eroding sandstone Cape. Hubby said it was about 300' tall, but then he only got halfway up. I got all the way to the top(yes I was wearing my new hiking boots!). This picture shows the angle of the climb--and it was steeper for the first two-thirds. I figure I really climbed another halfway's worth at least since each step slides backwards through the sand almost to your step-taking-starting-off point. That grey pointy rock down by the water is Haystack Rock, the landmark of the area. Lots of seabirds nest there. And looking at my pic now I see it's not level(my poop-edness), and it's even steeper than it looks.

Anyways, I have a new appreciation for those bedouins in the Sahara trekking those dunes! Although they don't have to dodge out of control seventh graders jumping and tumbling down the hill...

Here I'm at the top looking south. It was fun to see how the waves curl to hit the beach. See the teeny people! In the lower right hand corner you can see where the rocks begin for the tide pools.
And here I'm looking north towards Cape Lookout, where the field trip people are Not Allowed To Go. My older son swears that when he was on his seventh grade trip he found a pirate cave down there and was almost perilously trapped and drowned in the cave by incoming waves. I was on that field trip, dang, why didn't he show me??!!
More pix to follow!

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Ebony Brown Slippers("There's No Place Like Home")

Or...shoe fetish day...Got me some new REI Spirit III backpacking boots(forget Manolo whatsit!). Had fun going twice to REI to try on boots and have three people tell me what I wanted(make the voices stop!!), and two REI salespeople give me opposing opinions--oops I mean "product knowledge and expertise". But I prevailed and bagged this pair. Since color is very important to me, I am pleased with the French Roast coffee brown. These boots are really made by Raichle, and being myself a designer ever endeavoring to produce my own well made, well put-together product, I drooled over the simple practical lines, the rubber bumpers fore and aft, the nice hardly any stitching with no hanging chads, the sturdy feel that says "Mexico to Canada". As opposed to cush and flash and doodaddy labeltags and cheep.

My previous pair were a pair of Hi-Tec light hiker types, waterproof (not Gore-tex) mostly leather, which I put about a 1000 miles on till the soles were bald(that is the point I am allowed to buy new boots and yes I kept track). They aren't uncomfortable, but they felt thin as moccasins and I rolled on top of the gravel like walking on marbles. I was happy with them, and they're just starting to peel apart at the seams. Good for garden shoes.

So yesterday I put 8 miles on the new boots. My feet were only a little sore from the new-boot-stiffness, but no blisters or any complaints at all(cuz my feet are tough enough ;0)). I ended the day stretching my hamstrings by picking a pint+ of my awesome organic Oregon mountain-grown strawberries...

Today I put 10 miles on the new boots, with my "workout" pack of 25# of rice. My right foot got a tad numb, but I changed to my thinner wonderful favorite army surplus cotton/wool gun show bargain 3$ socks and feet were happy again. I know it's not the recommended way to break in boots, but I wanted to know, if say I happened to be in the Sierras on the PCT and needed a new pair, could I slap em on straight out of the box and keep on truckin'. Yes!

I'll report back on how many miles it takes to "break them in". Just in case you want to know;0).

More Roethke(kinda what I think of when I'm walking)--

The Manifestation

Many arrivals make us live: the tree becoming
Green, a bird tipping the topmost bough,
A seed pushing itself beyond itself,
The mole making its way through the darkest ground,
The worm, intrepid scholar of the soil--
Do these anologies perplex? A sky with clouds
The motion of the moon, and waves at play,
A sea wind pausing in a summer tree.

What does what it should do needs nothing more.
The body moves, though slowly, toward desire.
We come to something without knowing why.

(If I click my heels together will I be whisked to Mount Rainier? Mount Olympus? Mount Baker? Mt Adams? South Sister?)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

June Rain

Rain all day long, no tv, not much internet because of clouds and drooping wet branches(yay!). Kids are taking it well. It’s the usual June rain, thorough and sopping, but not cold. Been listening to the rain through the cracked windows as I slave away on knitting for deadlines. Luckily it’s a project I can read a book while I do the wrong side rows. I’m reading The Wild Cascades; Forgotten Parkland by Harvey Manning, with poetry pieces by Theodore Roethke (I’m a Roethke fan). It was published in 1965(when I was born), and was an “argument” for the establishment of the North Cascades National Park. It worked. Here’s an excerpt. Manning talks about lollygagging, big time, on the trail. Just like what I’m doing kind of…my house is shaped like a tent(a-frame), and has big windows full of trees.

“…Possibly the only pure and quiet sleep remaining for civilized man if a rain sleep in the wilderness, an island in time.

Rain sleep is not deep sleep, not after twenty or thirty or forty more of less continuous hours in the sleeping bag, but rather a shallow half-sleep, a blend of fragrances and sounds of forest and river and memories of other wilderness days and nights. The sleeper hears the steady roar of the river and as he dreams the unified sound of the river separates into scores of distinct sounds from individual rapids and ripples, all flowing into a whole and complete dream of rivers present and past.

The sleeper also hears the rain on the tarp, which moment to moment and hour to hour varies from a steady rattle to a sporadic pit-a-pat, and he hears the hiss of wind through the branches as new rain arrives, and he smells the wetness of fir needles inches form his nose, and feels breezes on his cheek, and all this and much more enters the snug dreams of rain in the wilderness…

Always, too, there are such camp pleasures as the warmth of fire on fog-chilled knees and the slow sipping of a cup of hot soup. However, the sure sign of an alien is that he spends days of alpine rain drying socks, or more often charring them. The true citizen of the North Cascades aims only to keep dry the small path of heather under the tarp, and with it the sleeping bag and the food. So long as there is water in the sky there will be water in the socks and bots, and not until the sun returns will pants and shirt and sweater and parka ever be entirely dry. However, having come originally from the sea, man with his waterproof skin can learn to love wet. In the North Cascades, he must.”

(amen, hallelujah)

Now for some Roethke(in pieces)--

A wind came close, like a shy animal.

What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.

I walk in this great decay;
The woods wet by the wind,
The dying moss, the brown
Features of time’s delay…

The far slope of the range, half light, half shade,
The final man, his bones adrift in fire,
The dream extending beyond darkness and waste,
To see beyond the self
This quiet’s but the means,
Whether it’s found or lost.

Leaves, leaves, lean forth and tell me what I am…

PS, This is one of my all time favorite books. Lots of wonderful mountain photos, and Mr Manning’s text is just right, describing hiking into and out of the mountains in pre Starbucks and Microsoft Washington. Published by the Sierra Club, you can easily find old copies for a few dollars, try Powell’s Books.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Oregon Gators

Oregon does have alligators, they're just really tiny! The Northern Alligator Lizard(Elgaria coeruleus "blue") are about 8-10" long. They like dry sunny places, like rock piles and oak savannah. You can see they are the same color as the clay-ish soil. I found this one on our motorcycle track. It was a cool day, so the lizard was sluggy and posed well. Otherwise they are very quick! Their bellies are bluish, and because scales are not very flexible, their sides are pleated so they can breathe(you can see the pleat if you click on the photo). If you pick one up, be prepared to have it bite(it's not poisonous) or poop on you, or....
...snap off its tail, as this one has a few weeks ago. Compare the shape of the old scales and the new scales. The new scales will each expand to its full size. Check out the delicate foot and those toes.
Smile for the camera! Here I am, eye to eye, belly on the dirt to get the lizard's portrait--I'm about 6" away. I got a few nice headshots.
My guidebook says "The young a born live, fully formed, in litters of two to thirteen in late summer." That I'd love to see, teeny miniature lizards.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Poetry Thursday(a week later) "River"


In the low
slung stillness
of the Spring
sprung air,
the slick-wet muskrat
humps bump-backed
along the edge
of the muck
muddled slough. I follow

furtively, he slip-slides
down-bank, losing me
in the thick
of long-stalked
cow parsnip leaves
held palms up,
concealing sly
muskrat goings on.