Today’s photo gallery is one of a beautifully destructive section of our Earth, known as Washaway Beach; a place where life has vanished into the ocean.
In 2015, during my journey along the West coast, I was able to explore a bit of Washington state. During the day of exploration, I decided to stop and rest at the ocean. Knowing only that the ocean was somewhere West of my current location, I decided I would simply drive in that general direction until finally being confronted by a massive body of water. What I wasn’t expecting was nearly driving straight off of a collapsed section of road, falling straight onto a beach. On that note, don’t try to eat a Big Mac while driving.
Once my hands stopped shaking from near disaster, I was finally able to collect my thoughts enough to take a look around me. Not only had I – in a terrifyingly random moment – found this beautiful beach, but what seemed to be a partially abandoned town as well, mercilessly being swallowed by the very ocean I had just called beautiful. Is that strange? I find it not only beautiful, but incredible how forceful and unforgiving our planet can be, to reclaim its natural state, ripping away what we have created in only a moment.
Thanks to my desire for random adventure, combined with not knowing at all where I was going, I was dropped straight into where I would have wanted to go anyway. It all worked out. I had to dig into the history of this place at least a bit.
Once known as Cape Shoalwater, renamed and now known as North Cove, this beach was eventually nicknamed Washaway Beach for obvious reasons. Some of the strangest things can be found washing in and out, all along this beach after the tide recedes. Being one of the fastest eroding places in its hemisphere, the area loses an average of 150 feet of land per year. The town, which now hangs from the edge of a cliff, continues to crumble, dropping into the rapacious waters. Looking at certain areas of the collapsing town, one could envision a real life version of a scene from A Series of Unfortunate Events. I mean, that can’t just be me…
The area is eroding quickly due to a moving tidal channel, which is deepening and moving northward, sweeping and cutting at the coast as it migrates.
For about 150 years, the ocean has torn away at this 2-mile stretch of land, originally intended for use as a luxury beach destination in the 1800s. The luxury destination was initially intended for those traveling by train between Portland and Seattle. By the 1940s, all of the original structures, such as a lighthouse, clam cannery, coast guard station and various brick buildings had all fallen into the sea and were forcibly washed away.
I’m used to stumbling into places becoming overgrown by trees, ivy and other plants, but here I witnessed nature reclaiming in a much different way, though still strangely beautiful.