Friday, July 9, 2010

Sand beach is a big find

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
~e.e. cummings

The windy road leading in to Dash Point State Park slopes down and peaks around a sharp curve to reveal -- the first sand beach I've seen in Washington!! It's just a sliver of sand, separated by a row of whitened timber from mocha-colored, compacted mud that stretches down to the Puget Sound. A creek runs a zig-zagged path through the mud where kids seem perfectly content plowing through the water, splashing cool droplets in their face.

Signs here tell visitors that clam season is closed, to beware of toxic shellfish, sand dollars are protected animals and to seek high ground if an earthquake causes a tsunami.

The beach is different than what I'm used to in Southern California. String bits of kelp blanket the sand and children chase crows rather than seagulls. Water moves quicker, too. I left my flip flops and small cooler about 10 feet from the water so I could wade out and when i looked back three minutes later, they were floating. The Sound felt tepid at first, almost like a warm bath, but the temperature started to cool the farther out I walked. There weren't many seashells and one could walk out some distance with the water barely nipping their knees.

Dash Point State Park, which I arrived at after a scenic 21-minute drive around the Sound, encompasses 398 acres and is open for hiking, camping, picnicking or playing at the beach. The shoreline extends 3,301 feet and it's most common to see bullhead, cod, starfish and red snapper.

The trailheads were across the street at the campground, near spots 23 and 87.

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