It may have been the middle of August, but I would have been lost without my Columbia fleece jacket as I walked the beach at Ocean Shores in Washington. The air near the coast carried a good chill and the water coming in from the Pacific was freezing…that is, the few times I allowed it to touch my feet. For a southerner who was just melting from 100 degree heat and humidity the week before, the climate change was a little bit of a shock; but not an entirely bad one!
I have been to Myrtle Beach, SC, Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas and Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; but none of those experiences came close to what a beach is like in the Pacific Northwest. When we pulled off on the road that led to the beach, I thought we would park in the lot by the restrooms and walk there. You know, like we do at every other beach I’ve been to. Not here! Our friends drove their car right onto the sand and parked wherever they wanted! As I looked around, I saw a truck parked a little further out, lawn chairs set up right next to it, cooler sitting on the tailgate and beach towels laid out in the sand, making a perfect square.
No crowds. No resorts. No rented chairs/umbrellas being set-up by guys driving pick-up trucks.
Just you, a few other people spread out here and there, and more sand dollars than you could count. Yes… sand dollars. They were everywhere! All sizes. As a hopeless “sheller,” I couldn’t resist the temptation to reach down and inspect any that looked whole. We arrived at the beach in the morning; the tide was out, leaving a vast track of sand between the dunes and the water coming in. Walking from the car to the water’s edge felt like an eternity! Looking down the coast, a heavy haze hung over the sand, making it feel like you were walking into a thick fog. At your feet, broken sand dollars lay in pieces every few feet. By the end of our walk down the beach and back, I had more than what I ever dreamed of finding!
Finding sand dollars that were completely whole was challenging. The birds would swoop down and peck at them, breaking the delicate shell and leaving a good size hole in it. Others are stepped on or driven over, and some just never make it to shore in one piece. At one point, we were walking along and my Mom found a perfect sand dollar riding in with the wave. She snatched it up immediately, and I’m telling you, it was a good size!
After a good walk, we came back to the car and pulled out some cheap kites we bought at the dollar store. I had not flown a kite in years! It was the perfect day for it and by the time we were ready to head out, a few others who came to the beach had kites up in the air too.
Oh, yes. As I mentioned above, I’ve been to beaches; but the Pacific Northwest has its own feel when you step on the sand and watch the waves roll in. It amazes me how different a beach can be depending on your location and I’m very glad I was able to visit this one in Washington on our trip. Even in August, the water wasn’t warm enough to get in, but if you enjoy walking or jogging along the coast, you’ll love the atmosphere in the Northwest!