Beach Treasures and Wild Salmon

Breakers along the sandstone cliffs at Shore Acres.

A day at the beach is never lost time.  —Unknown Author

Last fall, my husband and I returned to the Oregon Coast.  This venture was not unlike other beach trips, but it was twofold.  For me, it was a working vacation, but it sure didn’t feel like work.  My delightful task was to collect plant photos for an upcoming book.  For my husband, it was the beginning of Chinook season; and after almost two years recovering from two surgeries on both elbows, he was eager to rejoin the salmon harvest.

Our beach days were filled with wonderment, from hiking along the sea cliffs watching giant waves crash against the sandstone, to strolling the sandy beaches among the tide pools.  We hiked through pine forests inhaling their richness and stood on the peaks of enormous sand dunes taking in the awesome views.  Along the way, I collected some photos for my book.  Chris got to spend a day fishing the Umpqua River.  He caught a Chinook, this time a native fish with flashy chrome scales crawling with sea lice; a handsome buck that weighed 18 pounds.  Being able to keep a native fish was extra special.  A true gift from the wild that almost wasn’t when a sea lion grabbed the salmon by the tail as it was brought to the boat.  Luckily, the fish net thwarted the thievery, and the sea lion released its bite.  The tail was left with a large scar, but the precious meat was spared. 

The thick salmon fillets filled four bags that were kept on ice for the drive home.  These we later brined and smoked over Hickory wood, a two-day process that scented the woods with mouthwatering aroma, and yielded delicious oil-rich protein that would last the winter.

Chris with his catch on the Umpqua River.
Chinook salmon fillets ready for the smoker.
A friendly crow.
Ancient fault Line along Big Creek at Sunset Bay.
Ancient stumps and Qochyax Island at Sunset Bay.
Ancient stumps of Sunset Bay.
Qochyax Island at the entrance of Sunset Bay.
Sandstone sea cliff along Big Creek at Sunset Bay.
Coralline algae in a tide pool at Simpson Beach.
Dungeness crab back on the sand at Sunset Bay.
Kelp holdfast along the strandline.
Seaweeds and periwinkle snails in the tide pools.
Simplicity of a Gull feather.
Regurgitated Gull Pellet.
Western Gull.

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