A path to the shore is a descent of anticipation and discovery. Steep scrambles and gentle trails alike afford opportunities to examine the eternal questions confronting the beach enthusiast. What qualities will the surf exhibit, and how stiff a breeze will I face in the surf zone? Are there any fresh footprints on this path? What beachcombing discoveries await? And, inevitably, why didn’t I start this excursion a bit earlier? This spring on a path to the shore I heard the loudest dawn chorus of my life.

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Perhaps the best path is along the shore. This path comes with it’s own questions. Does the beach run for miles, or is the path interrupted by outcrops and headlands? How is the tide going to treat me? Do I risk getting cut off? What is my escape route? And there are those delicious discoveries you can only make from a path along the shore.

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I came across these blue buoys (attached to a Vellela vellela skeleton) earlier this year. They are pelagic barnacles that rarely cast up on northern Oregon’s shores. It was my second encounter with blue buoys. Dosima fascicularis, A Pelagic Barnacle, Builds its Own Float, is the account of my first.

Path

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