Pilgrimage to Glass Beach

February 11, 2014

Steider Studios:  Glass on the Beach

Ever since hearing about  Glass Beach in Fort Bragg California I’ve wanted to make a pilgrimage to see it for myself.  Many friends and acquaintances told me I’d be disappointed because there was no glass left, but I was determined to go and find glass to photograph if there was any to be found.

Steider Studios:  View From Room

I wanted to stay right on the beach but not in a dumpy old place so after researching chose the Ocean View Lodge – this is the view from my room.  It was comfortable in spite of a few quirks and we didn’t plan to spend any time there other than sleeping.  We arrived late and had a great meal at Mendo Bistro.

Steider Studios:  Leaving Harbor

While waiting for low tide the following day, we took a whale watching excursion on the Trek II Charter boat where I had an interesting conversation with our captain & his brother.  Their grandfather captained the first charter boat specifically for whale watching in the area.  I snapped a few shots as we left the harbor and wish I’d grabbed a shot of our boat to show you.

Steider Studios:  Traveling Companions

My friends and I enjoyed our Starbucks in the warm dry cabin while the 4th grade class that we shared the boat with crowded the front deck.  We traded places soon after the first whale sightings occurred and the kids had spent their early morning excitement and energy.

Steider Studios:  Heading out to Sea

It was a blustery day but we were there to see whales.  As the kids moved to the back deck we headed to the front where we mostly had the entire deck to ourselves.

Steider Studios:  See It?

See it?  The blow spout from a gray whale.

Steider Studios:  Gray Whale

We only saw a couple of whales and they didn’t show us much more than this, but it was fantastic to see them.  Soaked from the rain in spite of our rain gear, we remained on deck so we wouldn’t miss any sightings.

Steider Studios:  Back to Wharf

Two hours later, back at Noyo Harbor I tried to dry out my camera so it would be ready to document Glass Beach.

Steider Studios:  Storm at Glass Beach

Following the advice I was given from several sources we hiked along the cliffs in Fort Bragg.  We were determined in spite of the weather so kept moving forward, closer to where we might find sea glass.

Steider Studios:  Trail to Glass Beach

We had several trails to choose from and decided this looked the easiest to hike down the cliffs at Glass Beach.

Steider Studios:  Glass in Hand

How thrilled we were to find actual glass at the bottom of the cliffs!  We couldn’t resist digging through it right there, even though we had a couple of coves to explore while the tide was out.

Steider Studios:  Lighthouse near Glass Beach

As we played in the glass we heard a melodic and peaceful continuous song that must have been a fog horn at this lighthouse.

Steider Studios:  Glass Beach Coastline

As we left I snapped one more shot of the Glass Beach coastline then we grabbed a late lunch on the wharf.

Steider Studios:  Traveling Companions determining our course.

We decided to see more of the coastline after lunch since we were already wet & didn’t want to spend the afternoon cooped up in a hotel room.  My friends and I wanted more adventure!

Steider Studios:  Walking on Beach

Forgive the quality of this shot, it was almost sunset and we were wet and cold in the fog, wind and rain.

Steider Studios:  Pair of Seagulls

Back at our room we dried out, then found a fantastic pizza at Piaci Pizza, recommended by a local friend.

Steider Studios:  Rain and Mud at Glass Beach

At dinner we couldn’t stop talking about how much fun we’d had on Glass Beach, so abandoned all other plans and returned the following day.

Steider Studios:  Glass Beach Coastline

It was raining even harder so we drove down the coast to Mendocino while waiting for low tide, stopping at every little turn out.

Steider Studios:  Low Tide at Glass Beach

Climbing down the cliffs was wet and muddy that second day but worth it.  As we hit the beach the rain stopped and we frolicked in the glass one last time.  I tried to get a classic shot of glass beach, but there was no glitter without sunshine to bring out the sparkle.  Much of what appears to be dark rocks is actually very dark brown glass.

Steider Studios:  Glass Beach

As I said earlier, several of my friends warned me of disappointment because there was no glass left.  I think they were on the wrong beach!  I hated leaving but had to catch a flight to the frozen Northwest the following afternoon.

Steider Studios:  Lighthouse

Early in the morning we left to have one more half a play date together in Santa Cruz.

Steider Studios:  Sea Lions at the Santa Cruz Wharf

We started at the Santa Cruz wharf where sea lions were piled high.  Several babies were snuggling in the group.

Steider Studios:  Sea Lion Kisses

It was fun watching them swim and play in the water.

Steider Studios:  Baby Sea Lion

Loved this cute little baby sea lion.

Steider Studios:  Seagull in Flight

I got a little practice photographing  more birds while there!  You knew I would!!

Steider Studios:  Heron in Mendocino

Found a few herons too!  A remarkable and fabulous four days of adventure.

I must tell you it was mostly a remarkable trip because of the company I kept – two friends from long ago that I hadn’t seen in over twenty years.  In addition to the excitement of seeing Glass Beach for the first time, most of my joy came from our reminiscing and planning for the next adventure together.

14 Responses to “Pilgrimage to Glass Beach”

  1. Janice Bodlander Says:

    Linda that was great. Wish I would have been there. Beautiful scenery. Glad you enjoyed your trip.


  2. Thanks Janice! You MUST join us next time!!


  3. Absolutely priceless Linda! I am definitely adding this to my list of places to visit and explore. I felt like I was right there with you with all your wonderful photographs of the adventure. Perfect. Even down to feeling a bit chilled by the wet weather! 🙂 Great post, thank you so much for sharing.


  4. Thanks so much Kathleen! Let me know when you go & I’ll share more info with you.


  5. Barbara Len Says:

    I, too, have wanted to go there and see the glass. Now I feel like I have done so, even if only vicariously through your photos. Thank you for sharing, Linda!


  6. Thanks for your comment Barbara! I hope you get there one day, it was very fun!!


  7. bobjheath Says:

    Very nice report Linda. Rox and I were there just a few months ago. We stood at the top of cliff and stared down. There was a rope there to help you go up and down the basically vertical path, but, not seeing any glass, we decided it wasn’t worth attempting to scale the cliffs. I’ll need to get more info from you about exactly where to go next time.

    The next time you go, I would also strongly recommend that you reserve an extra day to explore the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. There are lots of paths to explore and lots of interesting plants to photograph. There’s also some beautiful overlooks of the ocean at the far end of the garden. You’ll fill your camera’s memory card for sure.

    They have a unique flower in Mendocino that you see along the roadside and in everyone’s yard there, but I’ve never seen them anywhere else. It looks sort of like a daffodil, but it’s pink. We bought bulbs at the Botanical Garden to plant in our garden at home, but I’m afraid that the hard freeze this winter may have doomed them. Oh well, I guess we’ll have to go back…


  8. Thanks so much Bob! The Botanical Garden was on our list, but abandoned for a second day at the cove. It rained most of the time, so I’ll have to go back when the sun comes out and spend that extra day at the Garden!


  9. What a wonderful post, Linda. Your photos are wonderful. I have been around that area a couple times, but never down to Glass Beach. It is on my list now. Love the seals! What a lucky whale day! Loved the trip you took me on, and I look forward to reading most posts. Julie and Blu


  10. Thank you Julie! You will definitely have to hike down the cliffs and see it for yourself when you go!!


  11. kathy watne Says:

    great photos linda! what a fun trip. i will treasure my glass
    even more


  12. Anna Garner Says:

    What a wonderful pilgrimage and your photos are outstanding. I could almost feel that ocean air.


  13. Thanks so much Anna!


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