Monday, July 31, 2023

Do you favor the forest, or the beach?

If you could live in the mountains, or at the beach, which would you chose? I've heard this question asked as a sort personality test, the idea being that people gravitate strongly toward one or the other. Me? I am lucky to live within easy driving distance of both, I don't have to chose. I can visit the forest and the beach, even on the same vacation! Andrew and I took off for the beach recently, destination Rockaway Beach, on the Oregon Coast. On the way we stopped off at the Wilson River, in the Tillamook Forest, he fished, I explored. 

We parked at the Tillamook Forest Center, there were pathways along the river—it was a pretty tame version of the forest, but still fun. At first I thought this carved mushroom would be repeated along the pathway, but no, it was a one-off.

Moss? Fungus?

I wish I could have seen the wild lilies in bloom.

One must always remember to look up.


More mahonia, and moss.

Can I ID these berries? No. But the birds seemed to love them.

This area, along the trail, felt like story time. All that was missing was a firepit for smores.

I was fun to be immersed in ferns (bracken ferns, I think?) that were much taller than me.

This was interesting, some sort of witches broom I assume?

I'm always enchanted by the fungus.

The Wilson River is not exactly raging this time of year—then again we've not had measurable rain for months. Summer dry...

Daucus carota, I believe.

Before we left the fancy Tillamook Forest Center I had to take a photo of Andrew and I with our friend Smokey. He does good work.
Once at the beach we visited Cape Mears, which is where I spotted this giant gunnera in a marooned boat.

Ya gotta love it when someone one-ups the expected beach themed plantings.

Also at Cape Mears, I swear that was an arctostaphylos growing in driftwood on the beach.

This bit of driftwood had many little micro-climates within it's sandy crevices, and what even appeared to be balls of moss, but were probably "seaweed".

Up by the Barview Jetty I was able to indulge my architecture interests...

Wildlife architecture

Up at Rockaway Beach now where I've discovered Andrew and my future beach home, so modern and sleek—yes please! (are those Madonna's cone-shaped breasts buried in the sand?)

Twin Rocks... (yes, it's a place)

Half dollar

There are plenty of large trunking cordylines and huge flowering phormium at the beach.

And manzanitas (arctostaphylos)! We drove north of Rockaway to visit Manzanita (a city further up the coast) and I took at little detour thru the neighborhoods to see what I could find, I was thrilled to come upon several lovely arctostaphylos. Like this one...

I can't even begin to guess which species these are, but it was still fun to see them. Note that orange ribbon...

There was construction happening next door and I think the orange ribbon was a signal to take care. At least I hope so.

Peeling bark on another speciman.

This large plant was in a sort of natural area and large parts of it were dead, but still quite beautiful.

Nature knows what it's doing.

A parting shot of the beach from our balcony...

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  1. AnonymousJuly 31, 2023

    Beach or forrest? Both.
    I love the powdery warm sand of my childhood at the Mediterranean, combing for treasures or swimming. Now days, I only visit the beach on overcast days. I find the forest magical, nature's cathedral, always relaxing and good for the soul.
    Could the noID berry be red huckleberry?
    With the river looking like a dry creek bed, were there any fish to be had?
    Great beach house. When are you moving?

    1. Red huckleberry it is! (I'm not sure I've even ever heard of that) Andrew did catch (and release) a couple of fish. There were other parts of the river that were a little more "robust". As for the beach house, I haven't broke it to the current residents yet that it's now ours...

  2. AnonymousJuly 31, 2023

    We are so lucky to have both choices <90 minutes away from Portland. Went to Mirror Lake near Mt Hood over the weekend with wife and kids. The views are postcard worthy. I usually think I prefer the coast, but we had such a good time up there, noticed lots of cool dwarf grasses, rhododendron, and ferns on our hike, that I’m waffling as to which is better. But those manzanitas!!! Gorgeous! So hard to decide!
    Jim N. Tabor.

    1. I've never been to Mirror Lake, it's going on the list!

  3. That's a nice getaway! Having lived relatively close to the beach all my life (as long as you count the hellish summer landscape of the western valley I grew up in as "close"), I'd still unequivocally choose forest woodland, preferably near a lake. However, fate and choices made throughout the years planted me firmly in beach territory. At least I have a view of water.

  4. AnonymousJuly 31, 2023

    I agree with above identification of the deciduous red huckleberry.
    Where would I chose to live the beach or the forest? Can’t pick a favorite. Love them both. We are lucky enough to live less than a 10 minute drive to the beach and try to take advantage of beach walks at low tide whenever possible. Much better than a therapy session and it’s free!

  5. Moss or fungus? I think that's actually a type of lichen. Where would I choose? Hmm. I grew up in the PNW before moving inland to go to university. I still miss the water but not the rainy winters and soooo many people now. Forest, foothills or mountains, I am lucky to have it all and I can still go visit the ocean occasionally.

    1. Lichen, duh. Why didn't I think of that? While writing this post I found myself thinking back to someone I worked with in Spokane. He was in his late teens/early 20's (as was I, this was a while ago!) and was born and raised there, but he'd never been to the ocean. Granted it's a longer drive from Spokane, but still, that made me so sad. I urged him to go. I was lucky to grow up with parents who took us there.

  6. We like big city vacations with great museums and public gardens. I don't really swim very well and sunburn too easily to have ever developed a love for beaches; though I've gone swimming in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. I've lived on or near three Great Lakes and have gone boating on a fourth. So I would go for woods and lakes which is pretty much what our garden is; though now without its lake! Loved all the interesting things you saw in both locations.

  7. I live in the California mountains and I much prefer it to the beach. However I love the desert the most except for the impracticality of employment. To me the desert is a wide open place full of possibilities. I can see for miles and be totally alone with my ideas. The beach is a place of retirement, you've reached the end and there's no more possibilities. Boats aside. The mountains are the treacherous divide between the two. Access to either side if you dare.


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