children, and more structurally sound ones elaborately engineered by grownup children: the ONP version of beach cabanas built to shield one from the wind rather than from the sun. Some are merely functional, some boast decorative embellishment. Some are freestanding, some are built between the logs. Evidence of beach fires for keeping warm or roasting hotdogs and marshmallows dot the beach, tucked among the logs to protect the fickle flame from the elements.
other sea life showing off their brilliance as they grasp tightly for life onto the rocks as the sea washes over them and off. On the cliffs above the sea, ancient trees stubbornly grip life as the harsh winds of winter do their best to batter them into oblivion.
As the road finally turns back west and rolls on through the tall second-growth, now protected trees, I stop at Lake Quinault Lodge, built in 1926, where Franklin Roosevelt stayed and got the idea over lunch to establish the Olympic National Park. The lodge is a familiar icon of my family history, along with the rain forest walk behind theMerchantile I take before continuing my journey. Now the road passes through private timber company replanted clearcuts. I can hear my father's proud voice giving our visitors a history of forestry as we drive to what they really came to see. Just as the road is about to run off the edge of the continent it turns north at Queets. I pass up Kalaloch (the first "a" is sort of silent), the only lodging on the coast; the beach that, because of the cabins perhaps, became a favorite of my parents after we children left home. I arrive, finally, at my own beloved beach.
my love affair with Ruby Beach, and my return here from the east coast. Fires, walking on driftlogs, my father-sponsored contests to find the most perfectly round stone. I tell them about low-tide walking out to the haystacks, and the sea anemone in the pools in the rocks. I answer their questions about the origin of the driftwood, and the legality of fires and camping on the beach. "But," says the woman, after revealing that they are from Arkansas and were driving south on 101 and decided they might as well stop, "can you swim here?" "Nope," I say brightly, "too cold and there is a dangerous riptide." I think they are disappointed in this beach.