Nature

November morning light at Cannon Beach

 

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

My relationship with the Oregon Coast has changed since I became a surfer two years ago. I now see the rough Pacific Ocean waves as fickle tricksters, always appearing beautiful but seldom inviting to insignificant surfers who dare paddle a few hundred feet from shore.

I also appreciate the magic moment when the first cold light of a fall day climbs out from behind the coastal range and illuminates the beach from the east. I have come out many times at this golden hour of the day, just after sunrise.

I drove out this month with a friend, hoping to catch some approachable waves. Unfortunately, the five-foot breaks resembled overheads, and grew taller as the waves barreled close to shore. We still had the beauty of the beach before us.

We first headed to Seaside. Both of us disliked the ferocity of the breaks. Next we headed to Cannon Beach. Our first spot already had two expert surfers in position.

When we saw the intensity of the waves we decided to bag that location too. It is also a secret hideaway that locals want kept that way. We knew we made the right call after seeing one the two surfers get stuck in the current. He spent 15 minutes in the current, stuck, unable to get back out to the lineup. As we were leaving, another surfer arrived, obviously upset by our presence. On such a beautiful morning, my friend and I let his cool glaze roll off our backs.

We suited up instead for some mediocre foam rides at a spot called the Needles, just south of Cannon Beach’s landmark Haystack Rock. Despite the junky foam waves rides, we caught our quota and soaked up the beautiful morning on the crisp, cold, clear fall day. Nothing could be better. You can never go wrong after a morning surf.

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Urban critters: here, there, every where

Earlier this week near my home I saw a coyote leap out in front of me from its hiding place. We both did a “whoa, what was that” jump. It dashed back to the shadows, on a bluff above a nature reserve near the Willamette River, where they are known to congregate in numbers and howl. So, in honor of the urban wildlife I see in the Oregon, here are two random and not really connected shots. In Alaska, the critters might be moose, eagles, and perhaps a bear if you’re lucky. Here, you settle for lesser critters in our pantheon of majestic animals we idolize.

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)

The Yukon Territory in the early morning

 

Twenty-two years ago I first came “into the country” to Alaska via the Al-Can Highway through the Yukon Territory. This was taken in 2010. The scenery is beautiful, and the land is harsh, and the mosquitos plentiful, and the economics mostly mining in these parts. (Click on the picture to see a larger photo on a picture page.)