Sunday, July 01, 2012

Glass Beach (Fort Bragg, California)

First, congratulations to Rob, who correctly identified Kit Carson as yesterday's Person-of-Mystery!  Not only did he solve the person, but he used good deductive reasoning to narrow his list of likely choices.  Nicely done, Rob!

So today, I'm going to continue our last trip retrospective, by focusing on another of our stops, Sea Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, California.

Back in the early twentieth century, people didn't think as much about ecology as they did today – even here in California.  So when the early residents of the remote coastal town of Fort Bragg, California, were looking for a place to toss their trash, it only made sense to them not to dump it in some landfill somewhere, but rather off the picturesque cliffs (near their pristine beaches north of the town) into the vast Pacific Ocean.  I know, today that sounds horrific, but in the years since 1967 (when the city prohibited dumping in the ocean), the sea tumbled the glass and spit the smoothed pebbles back up on the shores.

Jonathan making sea glass angels

As you approach the beach, you first notice the odd colored sand – perhaps a little more white than normal, but as you get closer to the shore you start noticing that it is not sand at all, but smooth pieces of opaque glass.  Then as you get nearer the shoreline, suddenly you notice the brilliant sparkle as the light glistens off of the multitude of jewel-like baubles all over the seashore.

What a nice reminder that God can take the junk in our life, work it over awhile, and and spit it back out as something beautiful.

As usual, boys will be boys, they tired of the pretty beaches and soon found ledges from which to jump into the water.

Next up, Happy Camp...


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Great post Nate! And nice photograph of the beach glass. You've caught the amber and green beach glass glowing in the sun nicely!

I love beach glass and I have been wanting to write a post on it. My dad lives on the southern shore of Lake Erie and as you describe back in the day the cities along the coast of this Great Lake would haul trash on barges a few miles off-shore to dumping grounds and now these sand and water worn pieces of colorful refuse have returned to us.

Finding a piece of beach glass along Erie's shore is much harder than what is shown in your picture. An hours worth of beach-combing might net you a handful. My dad is retired so he has spent many hours walking the beach and has accumulated quite a large collection.

Because the nation's railways have to skirt the Great Lakes many tracks pass through Northern Ohio. A railroad runs past my dad's place then runs along the lakeshore for a few miles. Last year I was able to identify many pieces of pretty aqua-marine colored sea glass in his collection as broken shards of antique insulators undoubtedly chucked into the lake when lineman serviced the telegraph wires along the railway. Several larger hunks still show the thick threads which positively identifies them as a piece of a screw on glass insulator.

Nice job and thanks for sharing your trip. I am enjoying it for sure.

Nate Maas said...

Thanks for the comment, Mike. Until this trip, I was unaware that people actually seriously collected sea glass. The wife of one of my Assistant Scoutmasters filled me in on the collecting world. I'm told that there are even carts and books to that tell you based on the hue what container the glass originated from. I'll look forward to reading your post which I'm sure will be more interesting and informative than this one.

Ellena said...

And for all of us who did not know of it's existance you should consider boxing and shipping sea glass. I'm sure you could come up with a better label than "sea grass seeds for your backyard".

Ellena said...

PS: Happy July 4th to you and your family.

Nate Maas said...

Thanks, Ellena.

Gill said...

Hi - i hope you don't mind. I have used your lovely pic of sea glass on my blog. Please let me know if you would prefer me to remove it. Have a great day, Gill

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In addition, our son stuffed his bear in a drawer, and when I called to retrieve it, they gladly dropped it in the mail for us.

Unknown said...

I'm with Ellena -- I would gladly pay for a box of sea glass. The beaches along the east coast are pretty well picked over. I live in Atlanta and can't get to any beaches to search anyway. I wonder if the beach prevents people from taking the glass out? I don't imagine they would want to strip the beach - it's so beautiful. Probably get pretty hot to walk on in the summer!

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