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Going to the Beach, Seattle Edition

Coastal bluffs, baby. We gots ‘em. They’re very picturesque. Of course, they have a distressing tendency to erode away and fall down, but they’re still pretty.

However, it makes going to the beach interesting in places.

Sign at Marine View Park, Normandy Park, WA

Sign at Marine View Park, Normandy Park, WA

Indeed. Of course, most of the parks round here aren’t so amusing about it – they just sort of assume you already know that a walk to the beach will be less of a problem than the walk back, or to put it more accurately, the climb back. Each park gives you subtle clues as to what you’re in for, like views out over the Sound from a height.

View over the Sound at Marine View Park. I think we can now guess the reasoning behind its name.

View over the Sound at Marine View Park. I think we can now guess the reasoning behind its name.

Here we can catch a glimpse of what will make getting back so very interesting.

Stairs at Marine View Park. This is a typical beach scene in the Seattle area.

Stairs at Marine View Park. This is a typical beach scene in the Seattle area.

This seemed rather familiar to me. I seem to recall seeing something much like this as a child…

Oregon is the same story – Lockwood and I ended up getting far more exercise than strictly necessary last March, when we were visiting various and sundry coastal features. The sequence is slightly reversed, of course – downstairs, upstairs, etc. And it’s quite nice going down, especially in the warm zephyrs of spring. You dabble your toes in the crisply-cold water and have a bit of a look at the interesting rocks on the beach, like this green one I could never figure out.

Strange green stone at Marine View Park.

Strange green stone at Marine View Park.

I’d have brought it home and cracked it open to find out what it looked like on a fresh surface, but there were sea creatures making a happy home on the other side, and it would have been rude to demolish it.

Wee barnacles and mussels on a beach cobble.

Wee barnacles and mussels on a beach cobble.

And you turn round, and gaze upon the bluff, which doesn’t look like anything much. I mean, a child could conquer it.

Bluff at Marine View Park. You can catch a glimpse of some sweet glacial sediments.

Bluff at Marine View Park. You can catch a glimpse of some sweet glacial sediments.

A bluff which seem to go on forever…

View down the beach.

View down the beach.

It’s easy to forget, that climb back, when you’re busy on the beach taking various artsy shots.

Art with barnacles.

Art with barnacles.

And then, at the end of the day, you figure out that the bluff that seemed so easy to descend, that looked like a bagatelle earlier in the afternoon when you were fresh as a daisy, is rather a different customer when you’re tuckered out and ready for a post-beach snooze. Then, like Grover, you stare up the stairs, panting “Are you kidding me?” Undeniably good exercise.

I now understand why the teeth are pointed toward the beach...

I now understand why the teeth are pointed toward the beach…

That’s going to the beach in Seattle. Not always a simple proposition for the perpetually out-of-shape. We’ll see if it’s any easier now that ye olde lungs have adjusted to being non-smoking.

Comments

  1. rq says

    Heh. Beach rocks. Beautiful.
    I have some in photos I’d like to email you. And a few in my personal collection for the cracking open of, if I could get them to you somehow (do not own rock hammer; would not know what I was seeing on the inside!). :)

    Stairs. It’s like climbing to the tops of all the lookout towers dotting the country-side here. From the bottom, it doesn’t look all that bad, especially if you’ve already been walking through the woods for a bit and have the walking groove on.
    And then you start climbing.
    A good reason not to smoke!

  2. ericjuve says

    I love your Blog. I live in Seal Rock Oregon about 1/4 mil from the beach and just wanted to mention to people who rarely visit the three rules I always follow. The first is never take your eyes off the water, it is unforgiving and sneaker waves can be very large. The second is if its windy always start your walk into the wind, if you don’t the walk back can be very daunting. The last and quite important is to be cautious around logs, never use them as a refuge from getting wet. Logs float and there have been many incidents of logs crushing unsuspecting visitors.

  3. Karen Locke says

    It’s helpful when there are stairs. Some sandy bluffs I’ve climbed “trails” up have been take a step, slide halfway back, grab the greenery for assistance, step and slide, step and slide…then, at the top, I get an asthma attack. No fair.

    • says

      I was thinking the same thing – that set of stairs looks particularly luxurious, too. When there’s only a trail, though, you do get to see some interesting botany and geology when you nearly faceplant and have to grab the foliage.

  4. says

    The strange green stone reminds me of an emu egg. It’s a bit small for it, and also obviously not an egg, but the resemblance is uncanny.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    One nice thing about stairs, whether going down or, dang it, up, is that there is always a handy place to sit down and catch a breath or two.
    Hey, I’d go wit’cha.