For over twenty years now, Kalaloch Beach has been my family's go-to annual camping spot, and for good reason. The wide, straight, sandy beach - a rarity in the rocky Pacific Northwest - is an easy walk from the campground and a relatively safe and simple place to spend time with four little girls and a big red dog.
Just a few miles north of Kalaloch, lies a very different sort of beach. Ruby Beach has a lot to recommend: picturesque sea stacks, dramatic cliffs, and an interestingly curved and variable beach. Alas, she also demands certain logistical compromises: there is no campground, so users must drive in to the parking lot up top and hike down a steep trail to reach the shore.
Back in the day, we visited Ruby once or twice. But with all those tikes in tow, we just weren't willing to give up the convenience of Kalaloch for the novelty and drama of Ruby.
In the past few years, though, things seem to be starting to change.
We've begun a new tradition of stopping at Ruby on our way home. It's easy and convenient to pop into the parking lot and hike down for an hour or so.
Everyone is clever enough to pack up a bag of essentials for the outing.
Everyone is big enough to carry what they need.
Everyone is strong enough to hike down and up that steep hill without whining.
Well. Except for me. But I'm only whining for the fun of it.
Maybe next year, we can come up here to Ruby and spend a full day, rather than just stopping on our way home.
Hmm. Yes. Our family traditions can stretch and grow to reflect how we have stretched and grown. We aren't bound to the past, nor are we letting go of our precious memories; we are building on what works to create something new.
So here's to another year's glorious visit to Kalaloch, and an exciting idea for new beginnings.
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More stories about this year's camping trip to the Pacific coast:
And here are some stories about my 2012 trip to the Kalaloch coast: