Friday, February 18, 2011

How To

(The prompt for today's 10-12 minute piece of writing was Describe a process.)

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Here is my new process for both finding the best sea glass, and also for getting a 3 1/2 mi. walk in:

First of all, you can always walk easily on the beach if the tide is below 4.2 ft. So you'll want to have a tide log, or to consult the weather page in the Chronicle. If the tide is below 4.2, you'll have enough sand that is "hard" to walk or jog on.

I always like to work as late as I can before the sun starts setting. Say the sun sets at 5:52. (Your tide chart will give sun-setting info., too.) So if the sun sets at 5:52, you'll want to be at your starting point by around 5:00. This will give you plenty of time, because it usually doesn't get really dark until 45 minutes after sunset.

Make sure you have pants with pockets. Let's back up here. Never buy pants without pockets. Pants without pockets should be against the law. Put on pants with pockets and grab your dirty beat-up lightweight down jacket and your baseball cap. Put your iPhone in your right hand pocket and your Canon camera in your left hand pocket.

If it's just freezing out on the beach and you have to wear those wool pants WITHOUT POCKETS, you'll have to add yet another encumbrance--a little shoulder bag with a zipper for beach finds.

Then put on your huge sunglasses that wrap practically all the way around your head to cut the glare from the sun as it sets.

Grab your shoe bag and get in the car. But instead of starting up at your end of the beach near the Cliff House, drive down the Great Highway to Pacheco and park down by the stop sign. If you pull over about 100 feet before the stop sign, you can open your car door without scraping the bottom of it, because the curb's lower there.

Then put on your dirty, sandy shoes, plug in your earbuds in order to the block the wind as much as for music--but go ahead and set Pandora to Cassandra Wilson--and walk up the bank and across the upper Great Highway, and down the steps to the dunes. (Always a thrill.)

The best rocks and glass and shells are usually at this end of the beach--not at our end. Starting at this end is the "new" process I was referring to in the first paragraph. The reason why it's much better to start at this end is because:

1. You can find great stuff while there's still light.

2. You'll be walking with the sun a little behind you, instead of walking into the sun. If you time it right, you'll be able to look for sea glass down near Pacheco, then walk up the beach to Balboa (where we used to start), and when you turn around to walk back, the sun will have set and you will have the most gorgeous walk back you can ever imagine, without the sun in your eyes.

Another nice thing: Java Beach is on your way home.

I'm so excited about this new process that I've gone a little over 12 minutes.