A Deep and Shallow History from a Nearby Shore

This uneven exploration sweeps from the historical shallows of my private intertidal connections, to the depths of the remote Miocene, and back.  Better said, I’m taking this opportunity to share a haphazard set of anecdotes about me, my home beaches, and theoutershores.

Surfperch were my gateway to the intertidal. I developed my connections to intertidal nature fishing the surf. My earliest posts, like And the King of the Surf is… came from angling on Oregon beaches. In Surfperches, I devote a whole page to surfperch diversity. The rod pictured above is an 11-footer I built a few years ago. It can throw three ounces with ease. It’s fishy, but not the fishiest rod I use. Nowadays, if I fish at all, I use lighter gear if I can get away with it. If you want more history about me and theoutershores, About theoutershores is a tell all.

Pictured above are Miocene sediments laid down over five million years ago. An unfathomable reckoning. What bygone forces of climate, weather, sea level rise and fall, and uplift shaped this shelf? It’s a privilege just to pass by these silent sediments. Honeycombed by burrowing clams, I can’t help but wonder if the excavations are the work of ancient or modern burrowers. More photos and a description of this worthy shelf appear in Boring Clams Lend an Otherworldly Appearance to a Miocene Shelf.

Right around the corner and on the same headland as the Miocene shelf, a more recent story can be told. The image above is the old roadbed rounding Hug Point. It dates back to at least the first decade of the 1900s. Until the 1930s, except at the lowest tides, it was the only passage for vehicles traveling between Cannon Beach and Arch Cape. It looks a bit treacherous today, and so it must have to early travelers. See more history and photos here.

Every ocean drifter has a history and a story. What tales could this lost buoy tell of its travels? In A Jar’s Journey I try to solve a drift line mystery. My Wrack Line pages are filled with driftline discoveries.

Of tales to tell, this venerable chiton might have some. Weathered and cracked by forces of surf and sand; years spent, in all likelihood, on the very rock pictured above. Chitons is my take on some common Oregon chitons.

Last spring and early summer, this bull kelp was a slender fast-growing frond undulating to the rhythms of subtidal surge. By winter, a washed up still life. So goes the brief history of an annual macrophyte. Bull kelp’s connections to the shore are highlighted in Bull Kelp Drift: A Subtidal-to-Surf Zone Connection.

This winter I measured the highest spring tides against this old stump. It’s been a reliable landmark since 2010. Now a beached relic, it has a history in a distant maritime forest. Standing Solitary in the Swash is a tribute to this old friend.

This history ends with another old friend, the pack that has accompanied me on every beach adventure since 2009. Here in February 2019, waiting along with me at the base of the foredune for one of those especially high spring tides, it’s as photogenic as ever. In A Betrayal of My Backpack: Its Contents Revealed, I show photos from over the years, and explore its hidden contents.