Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Guest post by Omid! Enjoy!
There are moments in one’s life that makes one question all the decisions he/she made for their life and whether they would change any of them if they had the chance. Questions vary and range from simple to philosophical, but there is always one about the place you live and if you made the right choice to stay in the northwest. Well… I am happy that I have come to peace with answering that question for myself.

I am absolutely amazed by the abundance of all the resources around us in the northwest and how easy and accessible they are. There is absolutely nowhere I’d rather be than the northwest and there is absolutely no time better than the summers here in the northwest. To count my blessings, Erin and Matty had open slots on their weekend schedules and we agreed on venturing out on Saturday, September the 10th and spending the day together, explore the resources in our own backyards, do some clam digging and have some quality time together. Boy did we accomplish that!
The day started out at 4:00 AM for us since the low tide was at 7 AM and we had about a 2 hour drive to the estuary. Luckily, we had packed the car the night before with all of our gear and coolers so before long we were on the road (including Remy). We decide to go to a place called Rhodesia Beach in Willapa Bay; where there is public access and supposedly all the clam species there. An hour into the drive past Longview, Washington, there was a heavy fog and combined with winding roads and dark, it made for a slow drive. As it was getting lighter outside and we were reaching closer to our destination, it was evident that it was going to be a BEAUTIFUL day. PURE sunshine, lifting fog and rich blue skies…. Man do I love this place…. We made our way past the happy farm with the happy cows and reached the location with the tide way way out. Here are a few pictures of the scenery before we started the clam digging …

We had finally arrived. The time was about 6:15 AM, there was not a lick of wind in the air and that famous ocean smell in the air. We parked the car, put on our waders and boots, grabbed the rakes and buckets and went to the bay. There were these nice folks down there that showed us the ropes on where and how to dig for these little creatures and in 20 minutes time, we had our 3 limits!!!! It felt really strange that we were done so fast, here we were …

With Remy now being muddy, it basically took more time to get back to the car, take off all the gear, clean up and pack up than it did getting our 120 clam limits. Even though they didn’t verbally ask it, the question in Erin and Matty’s minds were “OK! Now what? Are we just going to go back home?”
I’m glad they didn’t ask the question because I had also planned the rest of the day to include visiting the Oregon bays and beaches and wanted to keep it a surprise for them.
We proceeded to head south on 101 and instead of turning towards Longview at the fork in the road, I turned towards Astoria. On the way there, we were encountered with even more of the amazing sights and scenes that the great northwest offers us and we sometimes take for granted. It really made me appreciate them together with Erin and Matty. Oh and of course Remy. Just take a look at the Astoria Bridge with the fog lifting from it … Just amazing …

Have I mentioned how much I like this time of the year here in the Northwest?
We arrived at Astoria around 9 AM and decided to have breakfast at the Pig’n Pancake. With our tummies full, we got back on the road and I headed to Seaside. That’s when both Erin and Matty knew we were not going home yet and there was more in store for us.
We went through Seaside and reached Cannon Beach in no time. The day was SO BEAUTIFUL and hardly any traffic on the road or at the beach. On the way to Cannon Beach, I stopped the car and took a few shots of the famous viewing point … Look how clear and crisp everything looks…
We parked the car and started to walk on the beach towards Haystack Rock. On the way, Remy and Matty were running back and forth on the beach. You will be amazed to see them run. Remy is like a Ferrari and Matty a chase car. Remy was also doing what he does best when he is at the beach, which is putting on a BIG smile and digging in the sand with his front paws.

   Yep… Even Remy posed for a picture with the famous rock.
You meet all kinds of folks on the walk at the beach and some stand out more than others… We were stopped by this lady and her husband and the conversation went something like this…
Lady: "Are you from Camas?"
Me: "You must have guessed that from our dog, didn’t you?"
Lady now with a weird look on her face directing her questions to Matty (who is wearing the Camas logo sweat shirt): "I teach at Camas."
Me: "Yeah? So does my wife."
Lady’s husband: "ha ha ha!"
As always: Erin to the rescue and continued  discussions with the lady.
We completed the beach visit and got back on the road heading the same direction on 101 south towards Tillamook, Oregon. It was rightt around noon, Erin, Matty and Remy had fresh ocean breeze with tons of sunshine and it is not long before all of them are sleeping. We pass through Nehalam Bay with the bay full of small boats crabbing or trolling for Salmon. My plan was to arrive at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and have a tour that included some lunch, but once we arrived there, Matty and Remy are out and Erin says “ I just need another ½ hour of napping.…”
No problem. I go to the factory by myself, test their new flavor of ice cream they were giving out for free, mingled with the staff a bit and while the family was sleeping in the truck, decided to head towards Netarts Bay.
Netarts Bay, pronounced "Knee Tarts" is the cleanest estuary in the whole state of Oregon. It takes only a short drive from Tillamook. When we arrived there (now everyone awake), it was perhaps the most beautiful scenery I had ever seen live! The bay was filled with activities. From the small boats dropping crab pots or folks on paddle boards or snorkeling to the beautiful rich green background and sunshine on the bay, it took all of our breath away.

We stopped at an adorable fish market store by the side of the road where they were known for their local Netart Oysters. We started to talk with the owner and his son and soon discovered they live in Washougal! They were very nice and let Erin and I try a couple of their oysters. We also returned the favors and walked out of there with 2 dozen oysters and 2 big crabs. We packed all our catch and turned towards Portland to head home. A short 80 miles of driving and we are back at home (4 PM) with the rest of the day to spare!!! This is truly amazing.
We had the pleasure of sharing the shellfish with our good friends whom also provided steaks to go with the shellfish. I don’t think I can explain how good everything went together because I won’t do it justice. Take my word, NOTHING could beat it. Here is a few shots of the spread …

With the time we spent together on this Saturday, we all believed that this is where riches are discovered – riches you can’t get just anywhere, and once discovered, are yours forever. Perhaps it’s sighting a bald eagle cruising the Bay, or hundreds of brown pelicans diving from the air to feed on fish near the bay’s surface. Whether leisurely strolling along trail or beach, digging for clams or simply being together, those riches are all around you – rich in beauty, rich in history, rich in learning experiences and no one I’d rather be with to share those experiences with than all the folks I was with, my family.
NOTE: Naseem: You were missed!

No comments: