Posted by: GeekHiker | November 9, 2009

At The Beach, But Not Of The Beach

Yesterday, Sunday, I hauled the bike out and drove down to ride the beach trail.  The day was warm(ish), but pretty hazy.  Breezes were light, thankfully, which made for pretty comfortable riding.

By about noon, the high tide was coming in, with pretty large waves crashing against the shore.  It looked and sounded like a winter surf, and reminded me of the wave activity I used to see against the Northern California coast: high-energy, violent, dangerous.

Of course, the surfers were out there in their wetsuits, the water temperature somewhere in the 60’s according to the board on the side of one of the lifeguard towers.  Its part of the reason that I’ve never done much swimming in the ocean off Southern California: for the most part, the ocean is damn cold.

It was the second weekend I’ve been down at the beach.  Although my Halloween was a dull and somewhat depressing experience (okay, fine, it was a total bust), I’d been invited to attend a bonfire on the beach Sunday night for a friend’s birthday.

The evening was fun (especially after your resident GeekHiker applied his camping skills to get the fire lit when no one else could) and, remarkably, I didn’t feel entirely out of place surrounded by strangers.

* * *

Two weeks in a row at the beach is, shall we say, pretty unusual for me.

I’m almost afraid to admit it, as it will make me a pariah in Southern California, but, truth is… I don’t really like the beach all that much.

I doubt I’ll ever be a beach bum.  The idea of spending an entire day at the beach, just laying out, is boring.  I suck at volleyball.  And while there’s some interest in trying surfing at least once in my life, I think I’d rather try some place where the water is warm.  Like, say, Hawaii.

Then there’s the sand.

The sand that gets into your clothes, your shoes, your car, your house.

The sand you find yourself vacuuming up weeks later.

Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who hikes in the rain.  In the mud.  But at least mud dries, and the clothing can be put to the side.  Sand is insidious, worming its way into everything you own.

Don’t even get me started on what it’ll do to a camera.

The rocky shores of the Redwood Coast, though?  Where the cold ocean pounds the rocks and sprays of water leap high in the air?

This I like.

Or a warm tropical isle, with a warm languid sea and a gentle breeze, a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other?

This I like.

Or, rather, I suspect I would like, having never actually been to such a locale.

So perhaps it’s simply a matter of location.

Until I get back to the Redwood Coast or win the lottery and jet off to that tropical isle, though, I think I’d prefer a muddy, grassy riverbank on a warm summer day.

Without a grain of sand in sight.



  1. Great post! Looks like a fun trip. I’ve been wanting to go down to that area all year.

  2. Oops! Wrong post!

  3. Nobody goes to the beach for THE SAND! (that’s like saying you watch Scarlett Johansen’s movies because you think she’s “talented”).

    Beach is for water! For scuba and parasailing. For sailing into eternity and dunking into the sea to watch life with feet in near-silence. For sea foam and crashing waves. For the smell of the ocean and the breeze on your face.

    Besides, the water washes the sand off.

  4. I think Hawaii is your next stop! I think you’d get over your distaste for sand after a few days in paradise. 🙂

  5. Try taking a dog to the beach, even more sand everywhere for weeks!

  6. I don’t mind the sand — I got lots of sand even in Hawaii, but rinse your clothes under the tap and everything is fine again!

    I like the ocean, but I don’t feel that LA’s water is my thing. Just a tad too glamorous/commercial/cosmopolitan for my taste (oh yeah, I am totally intimidated by the beach bods…).

  7. I like the beach when the weather cooperates, although I am SO with you on the sand thing. plus, I always get a weird rash from these teeny sandbugs. But I like the waves. If the weather is bad though, then everything stinks. Hawaii would be good though. You can hike and go to beach. Buy me something nice when you go 🙂

  8. sand is just what you put up with to enjoy the ocean…

    the sound of the surf, wind blowing, grey stormy clouds, tourists trapped by incoming tide (j/k)

    been to the Oregon coast, GH? I’m not really a fan of crowded beaches, and the rocky ones require concentration for footing; OR seems to get the mix just right

  9. I hope you have some faith that beaches elsewhere are not a boring experience, is all I can say, having grown up in the coast and loving the ocean as much as I do.

    & sand! I think I can confidently say that out of the 12 months of the year my car spends about 9 with sand inside. Not blatantly visible sand, but inoffensive “left over” sand from all the times I stop at the beach for five minutes before work JUST TO FEEL THE SAND UNDER MY FEET. And the breeze in my face. 🙂

  10. The beach is best when it’s warm but slightly overcast. Sun is overrated.

  11. I didn’t visit the ocean until about seven years after I moved to Oxnard. I worked in Port Hueneme and still had no desire to visit the ocean.

    I did learn to like it though and ended up walking the beach to relax and get exercise.

    Sand …sucks.

  12. Ohhh, I love the beach. Not so much in summer, under a hot sun (tho’ the dip in water is always appreciated), but on a cool and overcast day, or at sunrise or -set.

    You see, the beauty of the beach is that there’s nothing else there. Nothing. Beach, water, horizon. That’s it.

    You know the rest of the world is out there (comforting), but you can’t see it, it’s so far away (also comforting).

    Try the beach when you’re in a mood, and need space.

    You’ll still have to deal with the sand, though. . . .

  13. i used to think i didn’t like the beach till i realized i like a beach with warm waters and some shady spots. (seriously, i daydream about bali all the time.)

  14. Not like the beach? Oh, I’m just going to block this post out of my memory.

    There. Done.

  15. There, took me a while to catch up. First thing : if Halloween gets you in such a bad funk, just forget about it altogether.

    Second, sand or rocks, it all depends on what you want to do on particular beaches. Try to dive from a rocky beach, you’re going to feel it afterwards. I like walking on either a lot though, especially when noone is around.

    And by the way, sunbathing will and always will be a no-no for me, no matter what I do, I’ll burn. Besides, beaches that look like meat stands are not the prettiest.

  16. Kolby – Errrrr

    Kolby – Oh, okay. LOL, no worries

    TheCoconutDiaries – She’s not talented? Maybe it’s just that the beach here is so cold. As for the water washing off, first you have to make it to the shower…

    MelHeth – Sure. Can you find some cute girl to go with me?

    Jean – A dog. *sigh* That’s a whole ‘nother post…

    K – Maybe I wouldn’t mind so much in Hawaii (especially if someone else is doing the vacuuming). Have you ever been to an L.A. beach?

    MissMcCracken – Like I said, I think I prefer the powerful waves up north…

    M4891 – LOVE the Oregon Coast (check out the Travels page)

    Narami – Perhaps; is that an invitation? LOL Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up at the beach…

    Dingo – Overcast? Nooooooo!

    Homer-Dog – Do you miss the beach now?

    AbsurdBeats – I don’t know. When I need space, I always find the beach makes me feel a little too insignificant

    BlakSpring – So, Bali, eh?

    Hebba – LOL

    Gany – Yeah, sunburning is rather bad these days…

  17. I’m late to the party as usual. Put me in a mesh zero gravity recliner, a good book and a cold drink or a warm drink whichever the weather calls for, and I’d be on that beach! I saw a mobile home park across from the beach in Carlsbad … LOL … I would so move into one of those!

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