Friday, October 17, 2008

An Unintended Consequence

One morning early this summer I followed a whim an traveled across the Columbia River to spend the day exploring Cape Disappointment. I left home in early morning hours on a damp and foggy day that the weather forecaster promised would clear by late morning. As I proceeded up the hill on to Cape D., I noticed the sign pointing to Beards Hollow. I remembered a time many years ago when I stood on a bluff that overlooked the hollow but I passed it up for other destinations. As the fog had hardly lifted, I decided a short side trip into the hollow might be in order.

Beards Hollow was originally a relatively small cove which until the early 1900s opened directly into the Pacific ocean. Like so many coves along the coast, tidal waters would flow into and out of the it twice daily. Following the completion of the north jetty which narrows the mouth of the Columbia River, the deposition of the sand along the coast in the vicinity of the jetty was alter. The result was a large sand dune formed over a period of years and a large fresh water environment developed behind the dune; complete with a small hardwood forest and a fresh water pond. Now I know some may consider the change an ecological disaster but the change resulted in an increase in the diversity of both plant and animal species inhabiting the hollow.

Following my exploration in early June, I vowed to return again with camera in hand during the the summer to see what the hollow had to offer. As all good plans go, I never got around to returning until last weekend, again in the early morning hours. To some, the natural landscape is static and boring but to me they are extremely dynamic and seldom fail to disappoint. And so went my most recent trip to Beards Hollow!

The Pacific ocean and the south side of Beards Hollow

Looking south from the dunes

Sunrise over the fresh water pond inside of Beards Hollow

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