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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 14: The Pacific, Redwoods, and Me

When I picture sinking my toes into the Pacific, I specifically imaged doing it a Patrick's Point state park. A little north of Eureka, it's near where my friend Dan grew up, and the last time I was in NorCal he took me there. It's probably the most beautiful state park I've ever been two, and it's been on my mind ever since the first time I went there a year and a half ago.

The Pacific Coast Highway is a very dangerous road to drive tired, so I had to take a lot of naps on the way up, and didn't reach the park until 3am. The campgrounds were full, but no rangers were on duty. I went in, parked, and napped in my car until morning when I could pay the standard entrance fee. Walked out to the point, and ate breakfast on top a rocky cliff overlooking the jagged coastline, a hundred feet above the foamy sea spray.

Then I went down to Agate Beach, and achieved the simple goal I had set out for. I waded and wandered through the Pacific for over an hour. The water was cold and bracing. The steady rhythm of the crashing waves was soothing. Something about the ocean resounds in my soul, brings me back to the most basic part of me. Am I such a thing of bold, brash tides? I laid out on the coarse sands warmed by the rising sun, and slept a deep and restful sleep.

I woke around noon, said my goodbyes to that lovely shore, and headed north along the highway to Redwood National Park. I stopped at the visitors center to get a map for my collection, and the rangers recommended a bunch of scenic side roads to try. These narrow roads with hairpin turns around trees the size of my car, are tons of fun to drive. On the way out of the park, through a section I'd never driven before, the road followed the Smith River, which was a brilliant azure color and frothy with white rapids. Oh, the shear beauty of a these natural things untamed!

Reached the Oregon state line around dinner, and Crater Lake National Park around sunset. It was another long drive where I probably did too much thinking. I feel like I'm on the run with the demons of my own creation at my heels. "Can't find anything unless you're looking for it," an old beachcomber looking for agates told me this morning. And, I know you can't outrun yourself. More and more I feel like the people I come across on this trip are looking at me strangely. Do they scent the smell of the hunted about me?

I'm probably just letting my imagination run a little too wild again. Maybe all I need is a good and full night's rest to rose tint my world again. Tomorrow is forever untouched and unwritten.
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