Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

February 28, 2013 at 7:55am

Outdoor Addict: Stroll beyond the kissing couples at Owen Beach

OWEN BEACH TIDE POOLS: Don't touch the marine life you socks and sandal wearing sun-worshipper! Photo credit: Whitney Rhodes

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Oh Pacific Northwesterners. You amuse me sometimes. That first sunny, above 50 degrees day is always so entertaining. It's like you've never seen the sun before. Quick! Everyone all at once get your dose of vitamin D! This behavior is completely justified given our constant state of grey the past two months, but if frolicking among the masses of socks and sandal wearing folks isn't your idea of a grand afternoon never fear dear reader, you need only look just beyond the beaten path.

On a recent sun drenched afternoon the area near the parking lot at Owen Beach was overrun. Dogs, screaming children, groups attempting to picnic without having to sit on the ground. It was an unnavigable mess. However, this is not our destination. Keep walking down the beach, past where the path ends, past the kissing couples, just keep going. The farther you walk the quieter it gets. Be sure to look around though. This is where the magic happens.

Just as the crowd thinned out and my friend and I started to enjoy the quiet we realized we were being followed. And not by a sun-worshipping, vitamin D drunk PNWesterner. By a dark shadowy fella. No wait. There's more than one of them. There's THREE of them. The trio was checking us out then disappearing into the water only to reappear farther down the beach. They were tracking us. I had never been stalked by a trio of seals before, but I'd do it again dear reader. Their hide and seek antics had us acting like eight year olds.

Beach walking and tide pooling is a quintessential northwest activity, and Owen Beach is the perfect place for it. It's fun for all ages: bring the kids, make it a date, or catch up with friends. The rocky beach is flat and you can go as fast or as slow as you wish. Dogs often love the beach but resist the urge to let them run free. Seals like to rest on the beach this time of year and would not enjoy a frightening encounter with a pooch (plus its against the law).

If you feel like being a Good Samaritan remember a plastic bag to pick up litter off the beach. The beach is one of the worst places for trash because of the animals that come in contact with it. Picking up a few plastic bottles won't impact you very much but may save an otter from a really bad day.

We spent most of our beach walk peering into tide pools, poking sea squirts and sea anemones, and mean mugging those seals. At one point violin music drifted down from the hillside above, giving our mock sword battle an epic soundtrack. Kids love finding the greenest rock, or looking for crabs in shallow pools.

I advise you to take a minute before you set off your own adventure to check the tide charts. This is as simple as a Google search these days, and can make all the difference. Low tide doesn't just provide the best tide pool viewing; it's crucial for access to much of the beach. The Tacoma Fire Department is quite good at cliff rescues thanks to folks not checking the tides and getting stranded. Don't be THAT guy. Trust me, wearing a sling to be hauled up a cliff won't impress your date.

OWEN BEACH, OPEN HALF-HOUR BEFORE SUNRISE, CLOSED HALF-HOUR AFTER SUNSET, POINT DEFIANCE PARK, 5605 N. OWEN BEACH ROAD, TACOMA, 253.305.1000

Filed under: Outdoor Addict, Outdoors,
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