Missing Arm

A sea star with a missing arm in Olympic National Park

This ochre sea star (starfish) is missing one of its arms, there should be another arm in between the one pointing up and the one pointing right. I don’t know if it was suffering from sea star wasting syndrome that is killing large numbers of sea stars on the Pacific coast. Multiple species of stars are affected but the ochre stars are the most visible since they are easily seen in the intertidal zone.

Earth Imitates Life

Large rocks stretch to the sky at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park

These large rocks at Rialto Beach in Washington’s Olympic National Park reminded me of goose barnacles stretching to the sky. There are tide pools by the rocks if you’d prefer life to its imitation. There’s a gull enjoying this lovely spring morning as well as I always like to sneak a little wildlife into my landscape pictures when I can. Shown below are actual goose barnacles (also known as gooseneck barnacles) from Enderts Beach in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California. Their stalk is said to resemble the necks of geese and according to Wikipedia, goose barnacles and the barnacle goose were named after each other, as the goose was suspected of growing from the barnacle.

Goose barnacles crowd together in a tide pool

The 8:13 to Beaverton

A dense bed of mussels in a tide pool at Rialto Beach

Mussel beds are one of my favorite parts of tide pools, as a slightly-claustrophobic introvert they remind me of crowded trains. There are a couple of trains that I try to catch on my commute as for whatever reason they are usually fairly empty at my stops, when most trains are quite crowded, and arrive and leave work at convenient times. I got to my stop this morning just before the 8:13 to Beaverton and almost have the entire car to myself.

The mussels are covered in acorn barnacles with some limpets and snails along for the ride. I don’t know what type of snails they are, frilled dogwinkles? Eroded periwinkles? Wrinkled amphissas? I do know this: A+++ to whoever came up with snail names, I love you.

Chocolate on the Rocks

A gathering of chocolate limpets on a rock in the tide pools of Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park

A gathering of chocolate limpets (I think but don’t quote me on it) on a rock in the tide pools of Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. I intended to reach the tide pools at low tide that morning but I wasn’t feeling well and arrived a bit late, missing the lowest tide but still able to see some of the creatures higher up in the pools. I haven’t spent much time photographing tide pools but I’m interested in doing more of it, so part of this visit (and a later visit to the redwoods) was getting some experience in the tide pools, learning to see what creatures are there so that on future visits I’ll have a better idea of what to photograph.

Even though there weren’t many pictures on it, my tide pool page on my old site was one of my most popular. I do miss sometimes the structured pages of that site so perhaps I’ll bring them back for some animals. They’re probably too much work for me to replicate the entire structure of the old site, and I’m not sure how to even do it with this setup, but I’ll look into it when time allows. If I do it pictures of the pets and of tide pools would probably be first.

Clear Skies

Rialto Beach near sunset

I’ve always wanted to visit the Hoh Rain Forest when it was raining but so far it’s been dry on a handful of visits. I thought on this trip my luck was going to change as it poured rain while I was in Mount Rainier National Park and while hiking in Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park, but by the end of the trip when I was near the rain forests, we had clear blue skies.

It did make for a nice walk along Rialto Beach near sunset, I’ll give it that.


Rocks on Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park in Washington

From a distance Rialto Beach looks like an endless stretch of gray rocks. While walking down the beach my eye was initially drawn to a small red rock amidst the gray, and on closer inspection I realized there was a variety of sizes and shapes and textures and colors beneath my feet. One thing they share, though, is that the endless waves of the ocean that brought these rocks together has worn away their rough edges, leaving them different yet also similar, a whole greater than the sum of its parts.