Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Winter Day at the Beach

Kaefer came home for the long MLK weekend to celebrate my 60th birthday - one of the best presents I could get. She was a bit sick with a cold, so we stayed mainly at home watching British crime shows, but on Sunday we made a trip up North to Gualala. Our county ends a mile or so before Gualala, just South of the Gualala River, and Gualala Point Regional Park still is within Sonoma County. Since I buy the Regional Parks Pass every year, we can spend as much time there as we like without paying the daily parking fee.

It was a pretty wild day at the beach with tall and fast waves that relentlessly crashed onto the shore. I love watching this show - but always from a safe distance.

It always surprises me how many people underestimate the ocean and its power. The Pacific in our area is dangerous because beside its "normal" waves there are also so-called sleeper or sneaker waves that are much taller and stronger. They can easily pull people out into the sea and if you're stuck in a rip current it's time to say your prayers.

This is exactly what you shouldn't do:

Walking along the beach I always look for shells, driftwood, sea glass and interesting things. I don't know what this is, it looks soft but is much harder to the touch. Maybe it is a part of some kelp?

The beach was littered with driftwood. Sometimes I find interesting pieces that I take home and put in my garden. They make beautiful natural decoration.

The different shades and colors of the wood are fascinating. My favorite definitely was the red one, which in some places almost had a purple hue.

We also found other beautiful things of which I'm not quite sure what it is - it looked like parts of some plants. Can you see the delicate "skeleton" of the dark leaf in the bottom picture of these three photos?

We spent an hour on the beach and then hiked up and along the cliffs with fabulous views of the wild ocean. How can someone ever tire of the sea? At the end of the trail within the park we turned left to return to the parking lot. It's a beautiful trail through a wooded area and here we discovered some stunning looking mushrooms.

This fungus is called Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric. They are known for their hallucinogenic properties and they can kill you if you eat too many of them. In German we call it "Fliegenpilz" which translates to fly mushroom or fly fungus. I had never seen them before and was fascinated by their distinctive appearance.

After a good meal of local rock fish and chips at the Gualala Seafood Shack and some coffee and peanut butter cheesecake at Trinks Café we headed home along famous Highway 1, stopping several times to admire the moody atmosphere over the ocean.

All photos were taken with my Pixel 3XL.


Elephant's Child said...

Happy belated birthday.
And huge thanks for taking us with you.
That looks like a totally blissful day.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I agree a hundred percent about beach safety and I am the first to confess that a couple of times I have nearly been trapped by incoming tides, on both occasions so immersed in either bird behaviour or probing through tide pools that my mind seems closed off to everything else. I don't think I have ever been in serious danger, but give it another half hour, who knows? And yes, it is surpassingly beautiful to simply watch the spectacle from a safe distance.

Magdalena said...

Liebe Carola, solche Funde würde ich auch mitnehmen. Das sind phantastische Bilder.

Barb said...

I love seeing the images of the wild Pacific, Carola. I sometimes yearn for the ocean, but when near it, I have a deep respect. Its roar and power sometimes make me fearful. That driftwood looks like Nature's art. We have the red mushrooms in our forests if we have a wet summer. I look but don't touch!

Mae Travels said...

Your photos beautifully capture the grandeur of those immense waves.

best... mae at

My name is Erika. said...

Happy belated birthday. Looks like you and i were born in the same year. The beach looks like a fabulous place to visit. I'd celebrate taking a winter walk also. Glad it was a nice relaxing weekend. Hugs-Erika

Iris Flavia said...

Alles Gute nachträglich zum Geburtstag!!!
Wow, das sind tolle Wellen, wunderschön.
Oh, jeh. Trauriges Vorbild, der Vater, sieht nach Darwin Award Anwärter aus...
Das sind wirklich tolle Dinge, die das Meer da anspült. "Gut", dass man nichts durchs Internet reichen kann ;-)
Ich vermisse das Meer, danke für die tollen Fotos!

Cheri said...

Love these photos Carola! I could watch the waves for hours.

Lowcarb team member said...

Happy Belated Birthday Wishes.

I did enjoy all of your beach photographs, and so interesting to see the different shapes and colours of the driftwood.

All the best Jan

Jeanie said...

Those wood pieces are remarkable and beautiful finds. I loved that beach walk. And your spotted mushroom makes my heart sing.

alexa said...

Stunning photos ... I had my heart in my mouth when I saw those two so close to that huge wave - like you, I respect the power of the sea, and its uncertain nature. Glorious pieces of driftwood - I am sure I can see faces in photos 7 and 8! Wishing you a very happy year ahead!