Sunday, September 01, 2013

Glass Beach - Fort Bragg, CA

Glass Beach was mentioned when we researched the closest beach to Beale AFB.  

This area used to be owned by the Union Lumber Company. Fort Bragg residents used the site as a landfill It was routine in the early 20th century to simply drive up and toss your trash over the cliffs. The dumping was stopped in 1967. Over time the ocean has done what the ocean will do.  It is interesting to find bits of old cars, spark plugs etc embedded in the rocks....and the glass? Its turned into SEA GLASS. 

We  set out to find this spot. We overshot the beach on our way through town. I began asking others at the Ward Ave Beach how to get to the Glass Beach....Coming from Beale....driving through Fort Bragg on the main street you  turn LEFT at Denny's. There are SMALL signs that say "glass beach." Drive down to the end of the road and you'll see a parking lot. This is before the entrance to  MacKerricher State Park. You can also park along the streets. You are NOT supposed to collect sea glass (or wildflowers etc) on State property.  

We knew, from reading tips on Trip Adviser, if you go straight ahead or to the right you may be  disappointed when you don't find a beach covered with sea glass. This seems to be where most stop. Still glass to be found...but...nothing like the treasures which await.

 The reviews said to go left, the climb down is steeper but the beach is COVERED in glass. This was taken right before I sat down and slid. ::snort::

 Once you master the steep, slightly uncomfortable climb down you discover a beach that IS covered with glass....that is not sand people. Fine, smooth glass....mostly white, brown and green. We did see a few slivers of cobalt blue. No reds.

My mind went directly to a new entry for "That'll preach." Most were content to stay where it was comfortable and complain the treasures weren't as easily reached or abundant as they expected. Those who went further found treasure of all hues. See? That'll Preach. I win for the day!
My sea glass hunting partner was ecstatic! She kept saying,
"It's much easier to find sea glass in CA than Japan." 
 Reviews also said if you go far enough left you are no longer on state land and you can collect sea glass. We have plenty of sea glass and found no new colors to tempt us. These pieces, for the most part, are much smaller than the ones we find in Japan.  It WAS incredibly fun to see this spot.
Just laying there...about 80 - 90% glass
Why can't you collect sea glass? It seems folks have been hauling buckets and coolers of glass out. Over time that has depleted the glass on the easiest to reach beaches. This is a huge tourist attraction for the area. The glass will eventually be gone, or ground to sand and then what? Are you ready - evidently there is a movement afoot to "seed" the land with more trash  glass. We found this ironic. 

It was unsettling to see folks  ignore the signs and fill water bottles, buckets and pockets with glass. Some did it on the sly...some were very open. "Mom, can I get two more pieces of glass?" I guess most don't realize you can simply drive off state land, take your chances and by George, you may find a piece you can legally keep...After all the ocean doesn't KNOW this glass must be washed back on this beach....we DID see a piece on another beach. 
Right at the water's edge....BEAUTIFUL! 
Personally, collecting sea glass here is a lot like fishing in a farmed pond. We'll keep looking to find our random pieces of sea glass on "normal" beaches...but this was interesting to see and the view was beautiful....we were filthy after our climb down and back up. 

We plan to visit this area again. We will probably take visitors if they promise not to steal glass....and we'll go search for glass where you CAN take it home. ::snort:: 

One last random shot caught by our fearless our climbs we came to this spot. I immediately wondered if I could fit through this is NO way I would have fit through this spot a year ago. I hesitated. I told Michael what I was thinking, he laughed and told me to do it....I did....even with my 5 lbs of pcs gain... Easy la freedom.
At THIS point I was happy I wasn't in beach attire
Do I love sea glass? YES. I've collected it, spoke about it, made jewelry with it, written about it. Our Japanese packers couldn't BELIEVE I was MOVING glass floats and jars of SEA GLASS to America....but I did. This was a fun I'm very glad we did.

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Playing at Fort Bragg, CA

We have been working HARD and decided today was the day we WOULD go play. We researched the closest beach to Beale and four hours later found ourselves at Ward Ave Access Beach. 

This trip has cemented Yuuki's status as our family's "best" back seat driver. ::snort:: 
No, she wasn't licking his neck 

She was getting as close to the driver as she could 
The drive was an adventure in itself. A friend shared this quote from Wallace Stegner. He said to appreciate the West, "You have to get over the color green; you have to quit associating beauty with gardens and lawns; you have to get used to an inhuman scale."  I thought of this quote as we drove through the Mojave and I thought of it again today as we drove through diverse beauty. Farmland, golden hills, redwoods and fir and the beach...all in one four our drive. 

We headed to MacKerricher State Park, as Trip Advisor seemed to say that was the launching pad to find Glass Beach (it wasn't - separate post on glass beach). The park was totally full and they wouldn't even let us drive through to check out the park...but they did tell us how to get to Ward Ave Beach Access....and part of that is also State land.  They also gave us a list of camping sites which will accommodate our trailer.  I'm glad we explored this beach.

Initial thoughts: It's not as cold at a CA beach as it often is at a Japanese Beach. It is CERTAINLY warmer here than Florence or Crescent City.  The beaches are more crowded in CA than in Japan. The beaches are free of trash in CA. There are many more posted rules for conduct on the beaches in CA - but most people seem to ignore the rules. We didn't.  We spent a bit of time individually and corporately marveling we were on the other side of the Pacific...right across that ocean is Misawa.

All the signs about this and that rule are a bit be fair there may have been tons of prohibitions in Japan we just couldn't read the signs. ::grin:: 

We had a great day - a long day - 8 hours of driving for 4 hours of fun - but we're used to this from our Japanese explorations. 

We dressed to visit the Japanese or Oregon Beach; though the kids were able to scale down.   ::snort::

The colors are spectacular....blues, reds, yellows, green, white....

The girls reached the conclusion that horse poop must be easier to pick up than dog poop - thus the signs. I explained horses are less likely to attack small animals or people? Not sure my reasoning was sound, but it satisfied their desire for justice for Yuuki. 

It was fun to watch a colony of seals...and we saw some swimming around Glass Beach as well. 

SQUIRREL - Our family Mascot. ::snort:: 

Michael enjoyed taking a few shots of  the kids 
Arielle -  16 yo Junior
Zander - 11 yo 5th grader
Nolan - 14 yo Freshman
Stacia - 8 yo 3rd grader
We all look forward to more time in Fort Bragg. Some are intrigued by camping and hiking, exploring dunes, and watching for wildlife....I must admit I want to explore Main Street. ::wink::  

Choosing Joy!
©2013 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...