Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sibling Assignment # 101: US Route 101 to Carter Lake

I gave the assignment for our 101st piece of writing. Here it is:

Let's focus on US Route 101, the north/south route running from Olympia/Port Angeles to Los Angeles. Read more about the highway, here. We've all traveled different sections of this famous highway. Write about a specific experience you enjoyed or survived on U.S. Route 101.

You'll find Silver Valley Girl's 2002 travelogue here and I'll post InlandEmpireGirl's piece as soon as it's ready.

For years, driving from Eugene to U.S Route 101 in Florence met an automatic right turn, north, to Heceta Beach, the Hobbit Trail, Yachats, Newport, or up to Lincoln City.

But, about fifteen years ago, my involvement in a couple of Sierra Club outings and in a cross disciplinary program at LCC that included marine biology, got me turning south at Florence.

I discovered the Oregon Dunes country.

August of 1996 was oppressively hot in Eugene. I was enduring it, but I was in a serious relationship with Helen, and she was wilting.

She mandated that we go to the coast. Immediately, I figured we'd go north of Florence, but I was wrong.

Helen loved the campground at Carter Lake, south of Florence, in the middle of the dunes.

As it turns out, my insecurities about this relationship began to surface on this camping trip and I hate myself for that. This trip marked the beginning of the end of our relationship. Going to Carter Lake stirs up my regret and self-loathing.

Luckily, though Carter Lake and the Taylor Dunes are so resplendent in natural diversity that its wonders transport me out of my past regrets and lock me into the beauty of the present.

The Taylor Dunes hiking trail, near the campground, a gentle walk, features a variety of conifer trees and huge ferns and flirtatious glimpses of Carter Lake itself, a modest seaside lake.

Soon the forest land ends, and a panorama of sand, tall grasses, scrub trees, various flowers, and finally the ocean opens up and the dunes invite visitors to trudge over sand hillocks and through oceanside vegetation toward the expansive beach, littered with driftwood and shells, and the wonders of the Pacific Ocean.

Snug and I visited Carter Lake last summer. Here are some of the pictures I brought home. Go here, to my Flickr page, if you'd like to see a lot more photographs.

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