The ocean here is big and thunderous. I’ve spent the past week and a half traveling up and down the California coastline, first to Big Sur, now in Mendocino County, but as far north as Eureka, in Humboldt. Highway 1 does most of the work except for the stretch along the Lost Coast, where no roads dare to tread. It makes sense, though: the road out of the Lost Coast and back into the interior valley along the Eel River is ups and downs and lefts and rights and u-turns and hairpins and switchbacks. For a road it’s fun, so long as you aren’t prone to car-sickness (which I’m not); if you are, at least as far as I’ve heard, you might find yourself pulled over on a turnout on the side of the road, puking your brains out and begging for mercy.
What I mean by it making sense: it makes sense because topographically, that must have been the best route to build a road on, and topographically, it’s an epic mess.
Another road I’ve taken recently beats it, but not by much.
And so California coastline: shrubs, trees, and brittle rock. You can practically peel the cliffs apart like a deck of cards. They aren’t so much rock as matter crafted explicitly for rapid erosion and disintegration, which has the pleasant side effect of allowing the sea to sculpt various masterpieces out of the land along the way. Oregon coastline is like this, too: mulled over, contemplated, and then pummeled with exacting perfection. Bays and inlets and rock formations and uninhabitable (except by seabirds) rock- and algae-islands; white frothing water cresting into shore, slowly beating it into submission. From millennia of (de)construction, impermanent works of art. And then occasionally you’ll see the remains of a giant felled tree, its bulk and heft bobbing on the beach as the waves slide in beneath it, perhaps dragging it away from this particular beach and back out into sea. It’s hard to tell, and it’s hard not to be a bit humble about it.
In and out of capes and cliffs, forest and shrub brush: note the tsunami hazard areas, and try not to think too hard about them.