Big River

big river beach sign
Yesterday we went to Big River State Beach. It’s a pretty cool place, and the area around it including sizeable hiking trails and Headlands is available to the public thanks to some hard working members of our community, who thought it a shame to see that land in private hands. So they raised a whole ton of money, bought it, and put it into the hands of the parks department. For those of my readers who are not local, Big River is in Mendocino, about 10 minutes south of me by car. It is also north of…Little River.

path to big river beach
Here’s the pathway down to the beach. That dim shaggy shape is Lupin, who was our canine companion for the adventure. She is a Saint Bernard. She is also very large. The iris were out in full force, and it was quite lovely.

Here she is lying in the sand looking oh so vicious. One of her favourite pastimes, I assure you. (Those are Dora’s pants in the background, a crucial part of the composition, I think you will agree?) We actually made a lot of doggy friends–there was a four month old pitbull who was simply a sweetheart, playing with his terrier companion. There was a giant exuberant black lab who was having an ongoing war with the seagulls, a beautiful doberman who had a passion for oversized sticks, and an assortment of other canids, all of whom were very nice. If you don’t see any lurking park rangers, you can let your dog run off leash. (Not that I would, I mean, ever do that. I’m just saying that, uhm, some people, you know, do.)

smuggler's island
This is called “smuggler’s island,” because smugglers…er…live there. No foolies. There’s a giant house which can be seen from a different part of the beach, although I refrained from photographing it because I didn’t want anything unpleasant to happen. The house was up for sale a few years ago and I went to check it out. I assure you, it’s a drug den. It is not, however, an island, it is a promontory. The water is part of the big river estuary, which is a fancy of saying it’s there the ocean and the river meet.

log houseThere was a lot of driftwood on the beach, which enterprising architects turned into amazing structures. There were three bedrooms, little nooks barely big enough to fit in, and everything in between. This is the northern side of a two bedroom–lovely ocean view, as you can see. The structure was about four feet high, constructed entirely out of driftwood. It looks like it’s straight from the Swiss Family Robinson, doesn’t it?

beehive structureWe called this “the beehive” and agreed it was the coolest thing on the beach. It’s actually quite roomy inside, though cozy. And…amazing. Constructed with driftwood and wire, it curves up from the shelter of a giant old growth log, which is skulking in the foreground. It was also lined with pillows for easy napping. (I suspect that those belonged to the group of youths who were frolicking further down the shore–they also left their backpacks and shoes about.)

log with a zip codeJust in case you couldn’t remember the zip code. This was a giant structure, with a sunken pit in the beach. Giant. A sweatlodge for twenty.

Big River BeachHere’s the northern end of the beach, and the lagoon. It’s, uh, you know, beachy. There are some surfers out there but you probably can’t see them.

locals only
This was another very large, very cool structure, with a sentiment I can agree with. If only it applied to the whole county.

logs and skyInside one of the structures, looking up.

wormy log
Worms burrow under bark and leave amazingly cool trails which weather beautifully. This is an upright pole in one of the structures.

Pretty cool, eh?

[Big River Beach]