Monday, June 5, 2017

The Sands of Time

The scent of wild roses mixed with ocean air is heavenly.
 Since I arrived on the Olympic Peninsula, I have enjoyed some wonderful walks on natural lands. One of my favorites has been the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, also known as Dungeness Spit.

When I first came here in 2013, I was taken for a walk along the bluffs and was transfixed with the fragility and the beauty of a place that is in a state of constant change.

I walked these bluffs several times that year and often each year I come back at least a few times, sometimes to share it with visitors. Below are some pictures taken from 2013.

In 2013, there was still some walkway left near this post.
Now the post is gone, the tree is gone, the paths are gone.

This was in July 2013 and there was still a path to the right
of the photo. That path was eroded last year and is gone now.
All of this bluff shown here is gone now. I'm estimating at
least 20 feet has been taken in the past four years.

This was a previous path; the Rangers have their work cut
out from underneath them...
Another view of the previous path... gone in 2017.

And today when I went for a walk to remember my friend Cynthia Little who has crossed over (one month ago today) as she was the first one to show me the bluffs with her dog, Keena, I was shocked to discover that in the last year alone, we have lost ALL the walkways!

And areas that were inland by 25 or 30 feet and were tree-covered are now open to the Sound with the encroachment threatening those walkways as well. Here are the photos from today.
The barrier prevents anyone from walking along the bluff;
that SW path was open last fall but I knew it was eroding fast.

A new sign, a new blockage preventing any foot traffic to
the east on the bluffs of Dungeness Spit.

Overstating the obvious; there's a 100-ft. drop there.

If you look closely, you can see a huge piece
of bluff is about to drop off.
While the view is still impressive, this view opened up this
last winter. Previously it was trees and undergrowth.
The light reflects off the Sound and this path may only be
here for another summer. This used to be thick with trees
and undergrowth. Ever-changing beauty.
Another view of the wild rose.
(I've done two other blogs on this area: "Hot Night on the Spit" and "The Dungeness Spit" if you want to read more about it and see some other photos.)
We have had a lot of gale force winds this last fall and winter, and also stormy seas. Both of these elements are part of the erosion of the spit. No matter how much the Rangers try to arrest the action, it will continue. The sands of time... sliding away.


  1. Wow! Great report. I'm not going anywhere near those bluffs!

  2. Thanks for reading, John! No one is going to be able to walk even the existing pathways in a few years. Annie

  3. Greetings, I am originally from Colombia but was adopted and raised here in the U.S. now more than anything I want to return to where my heart and soul belongs. I've been told that I have origins (since my last name is Forero) in Chiquinquirá where I read you have visited. Have any info by any chance? Thank you! By the way I completely resonated with your article because regardless of my upbringing I have always connecting with my indigenous blood/roots and not the Christian dogmatic ideology I was brainwashed to worship!!!