A tunnel of vegetation leads from the roadway to Ruby Beach. I descended with the sun, bats passing inches from my face, husks of burnt paper afloat in an updraft.
When night falls and the tide rises, these rugged places seem forever capable of shrugging from their shoulders the throngs of tourists and day-trippers.
Behind me was a graveyard of Sitka pine; pale, nude corpses of trees felled by the rain and the surf, pinned to the headlands by the larger storms and embalmed in white by salt and sun. I waded through the creek where it overflows the dike built by the surf and wandered for a few moments amongst the stacks while fog and shadow grew.
It is at night on the beach, alone, that one truly feels what a menace the sea can be. It gnaws forever at the land, turning mountains to headlands, headlands to stacks, stacks to boulders, boulders to cobbles, and cobbles to sand. The chill of twilight, the rush of the onshore, and the cacophony of the Pacific leaves little room for comfort in the 20 feet between brine and headland.
These rugged places shrug us all in time.