The four and a half month break we Cascadian Nomads recently took from traveling (due to circumstances beyond our control) is the longest road trip free time we have had in many, many years. Maybe that is what made our recent trip to the area around the mouth of the Columbia River so extra special. It also could have been that we had two amazing days on a small part of the Long Beach peninsula's 28 miles of sandy Pacific Ocean shore.
Day one was Valentine's Day and we were treated to a drive on the beach. Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley have been to Long Beach, Washington before but both other times it was too crowded to run off-leash. This time though, we practically had the entire dog friendly beach to ourselves. So we parked the car and let the dogs enjoy a good, long run. An hour or so before sunset, Jason and I decided it would be a good idea to get the car off the beach and give the dogs a break from all the running. So we drove to the parking area along Bolstad Street West and walked the Long Beach boardwalk. The board walk as well as the adjacent Discovery Trail are leashed dog friendly. At first the dogs seemed to appreciate the change of scent and scenery on the board walk. When Jason and I continued hiking South on the Discovery Trail, the dogs enjoyed sniffing the sea grass for a while but soon tried to take every turn to the beach that they could. It wasn't long before Jason and I let them lead the way over a large sand dune back to the beach. And we were just in time to enjoy a spectacular Pacific sunset.
Day two was President's Day and the Pacific Northwest had just experienced a massive storm that included hurricane force winds, hail, rain and snow. Long Beach was a very different place than we had experienced just 48 hours earlier. The beach was too soft for us to drive on so we parked at Bolstad Street West again and this time headed North on the Discovery Trail. Obviously, the dogs knew where we were but they tried to enjoy the leashed trail hike for a while. It wasn't far to the North end of the trail and there we turned West, over a sand dune to the beach. The calm, clear mirror beach we had seen just two days ago was gone and the sand was littered with debris like driftwood and kelp as well as masses of sea foam. I kept Wilhelm, Brychwyn and Huxley on leashes at first because I feared them finding dead animals or dangerous trash. But surprising little of what was washed up on the shore was unnatural or dangerous. So the dogs were soon running happily free on the beach again, chasing and getting covered in sea foam.
Long Beach is a wonderful, dog friendly destination which we highly recommend and will be frequently returning to ourselves. I'd like to one day hike the entire Discovery Trail. This is, however, the first of three visits that I have been comfortable letting the dogs roam off-leash on the beach (leashes are required by law on the boardwalk and Discovery Trail and we always obey the leash law.) Motor vehicles are allowed on this beach and that poses an obvious danger to loose dogs. This beach is also very popular and can be crowded. I don't want my dogs to be known as spoilers of picnics! The biggest concern I always have anytime I consider letting my dogs off leash on any Pacific northwest beach where it is legally allowed is the possibility of salmon poisoning disease. Fortunately the two days we spent on Long Beach last weekend it was easy to scan for possible dead fish. We nomads sure know how to pick the right weekend and the perfect destination to reinvigorate our Cascadian wanderlust.
Windy and wonderful Long Beach, Washington.