The Muse

Sunday, July 23, 2017

What is it With Sand Dunes?

First I must tell you, that in response to our inland trip to Sisters, Oregon, an Oregonian told me the name of The Three Sisters Mountains. They are Faith, Hope and Charity. And he asked if I knew why they named a lake Senoj. The name isn’t misspelled nor is it a Native American name. Can you figure out the answer? (I will tell you in the next blog.)

Okay onto the coast trip. Here we go.

On our last Oregon Coast trip, we began in Eugene and aimed north. You might have read about it, the Cannon Beach, Beverly Beach trip.

This time we aimed south. We spent the night in Reedsport. I won’t tell you that I mixed up the dates and ended up at midnight with no room at the Inn. 

However the kind lady at Expedia, with an accent I couldn't understand, along with my late night head, and ears filled with the sound of the car's motor,  fixed it, the kind desk lady interpreted, and we did have a bed at a different Motor Lodge.

Oh, I just told you?

Well, all ended well.

I would say if you want to see pretty towns and boutique shops aim North from Eugene, that way you will hit Florence, and Newport Beach, and my favorite Cannon Beach.

We must go further north sometime to Seaside. I was there when I was about 11 years old. I remember lying on the beach with my mother, and it was the first time I had seen the ocean. 

Much has changed since then.

Okay, on to the south.

There is a 40 mile stretch from Florence on down south where sand dunes form.

With Reedsport and Winchester Bay being the heart of dune country.

Oh yes, Winchester Bay is where we stopped for an iced latte’ at a little bakery that served blueberry scones with so much fruit each scone weighed in at about a pound.

The strip of land east of the Cascades is where the big trees reign, and I cherish them, and worry if I see a spindly one. But those southern trees were healthy, abundant and beautiful.

I guess I want people to know that Oregon isn’t all treed, and that our strip west of the Cascades is fragile. 

Here we go

Oh, there you are Miss Beautiful Pacific

At Reedsport, we drove down a long “spit.” Yep, it was called that. The spit stretched out alongside the river to the ocean. And there were the sand dunes, being used as ski slopes for the sand dune riders.

I wondered about how the dunes were made and why they were there and knew it was the play of wind but didn’t know much more.

Now I know that sand grains roll and skip, until they meet an immovable object, like a shrub. I read that they can even begin as an ant hill. The sand stacks up until it reaches such a height that it collapses upon itself, forming a windward side and a slip side. This is its angle of repose, where it is stable, usually 30-34 degrees.

Yep, the wind blew. I felt like I had spent the day in a convertible. Once I thought that a convertible would be fun, so we rented a jeep in Hawaii. Wow, talk about feeling beaten up.

Many RVs and campgrounds existed along the spit and even a horse camp where the campgrounds supplied wooden corrals for the horses to allow them free-time off a rope.

I was amazed to see so much water, lakes and ponds sitting right on the sand. How that happened is a mystery to me, but there they were dry sand and wet water. 

This lake was pretty. It reminded me of our estuary (didn’t belong to us, I just claimed it) in Hawaii that existed alongside the ocean at Black Sands Beach, and sported water lilies, and a ducky.

We drove to Bandon, where we had lunch. See our little Sweetpea peeking out from behind Dad’s legs?

In Bandon we saw the greatest chainsaw carving I have ever seen—a T-Rex.

Coming home we drove back to Reedsport and inland through Elton where the magnificent elk grazed right alongside the road, And you could get out and watch them, contented as tame cows.

In The Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson, the elk teaches us that pacing ourselves will increase our stamina. The elk has little defense against a mountain lion except his ability to go the distance.

Elk has a curious kind of warrior energy, for except during mating season, he honors his own sex, and can, therefore, call upon the medicine of brotherhood or sisterhood.

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