Monday, July 22, 2019

Sometimes the eagle gets in the way of your shot

Horsetail Falls just East of Portland
We pushed off the Oregon coast for a moment for a quick run into Portland.

Floating Condos in Portland on the Columbia River

Portland was quirky, and quite intense; in four short days we managed to check out a boat (not the one for us), pick up a pair of bicycles (doctor's orders... hoping to restore some balance and flexibility to Lance's foot), and visit some friends, then we fled the busy scene for the quiet coast again. The plan was to make some short hops along the Washington Coast.

Hoquiam's Carnegie Library has been lovingly restored
First stop: Hoquiam. It turned out to be less interesting than the map suggested so we just stayed the one night and moved on.

First Beach in La Push, WA. All the white you see are monstrously huge dead trees

Second stop: Forks and La Push. The folks of Forks really made us feel right at home - they were so friendly and welcoming - and they even sent us off with a huge slab of halibut which required significant Tetris skills to fit in the freezer (we'll be looking for friends to share a large fish meal with somewhere not too far down the road, it's way too much for the two of us). 

Stewie exploring the grounds at the Elks Lodge in Forks

The nearby Quileute Reservation surrounds the town of La Push and beaches with such original names as First Beach, Second Beach and... you guessed it... Third Beach. The beaches are littered with absolutely huge trees; sunbleached, aged and weathered.

First Beach - those are full-grown people standing near the roots of those old dead trees

At first I thought they'd washed up years ago in big storms, or that they'd been cut down and sent down the river, and then escaped before making it to their final processing destination. But these trees still have their roots, so this is not the work of lumberjacks. After careful consideration, I believe there's another force at work here.

The greens of Washington are all-consuming - there are shades of green here I didn't even know existed. Mother Nature refuses to yield even a square inch to any bare earth, the greenery even grows right down to the water line. I believe that the trees grew as close to the ocean as they could, only to eventually submit to saltwater intrusion, die and fall over onto the beach. And then they get pushed around by high tides and storms, creating these amazing huge bleached driftwood piles. Here's another shot down below, as you can see the trees on the front line are about to join their brethren on the beach. Regardless whether green, dying, or bleached and weather-worn, the trees on the beaches of La Push are beautiful.

First Beach

Third stop: Sequim (pronounced squim). It was purely coincidence that we arrived just in time for the lavender festival. We settled in at the same time the tents went up, crowds started arriving, and people rejoiced in all things lavender. Citizens adorned homes and businesses in festive lavender flags and everyone was wearing purple. Except us. Apparently we have no purple whatsoever on the bus. So we were the dorks in black and brown. Oh well.

Lavender by the roadside in Sequim WA
I had my heart set on a shot of lavender in the late afternoon sunlight, and took off across the countryside to find the picture I had in mind. I was just circling in on my chosen location, admiring the frantic bee activity and waiting out the lighting of my intended shot when I came across a dozen or so people with long-lens cameras on the roadside. When I looked up from the fields of lavender for a moment I discovered the source of their rapt attention - a nest with a baby bald eagle who would come out and stretch his wings now and then. The young one was chittering at his/her parents who would circle around and then fly off again; eagle babies make a sound quite similar to the high-pitched and random squeak of sneakers on a hardwood basketball court. This one was all shades of brown, apparently they don't grow into their white heads for several years.

While I was busy gawking at eagles, the afternoon light nearly got away from me. I had to tear myself away. In the end I got the lavender shots and Lance got the eagle shots (we'll put them all on Shutterstock soon). Chloe got to ride in the car and frolic on the beach. It was a good day.

Lance followed the eagles right down to the water, they didn't even seem to mind that he was there

Bald Eagle at Sundown

Fledgling Bald Eagle
Fields of Lavender about to retire for the evening

Internet Speed Comparison
Elks Lodge, Sequim, WA
Sampled 7/16/19 at noon

MB down
MB up
Calyx (Sprint)
Google Fi
Jetpack (Verizon)


  1. Glad to know Chloe is getting to spend time at the beach. But one of your pictures is titled "Floating Condos"? Are those condos built on a floating dock? I'd like to know more about that.

  2. Aren't those cool?! We also really like the idea of parking the boat in front of the house and having a river instead of a lawn. Here's some info I found from the complex next door:

  3. Do come back to Forks! Enjoy the journey that leads you to returning here eventually ~

    1. Thanks Bill, we appreciate you making us feel right at home. We've met lots of other traveling Elks since then and are sending the cool ones your way :)