Before we decided on a trail head, we took the chance to check out the beach. Diane started hunting the shoreline for shells. We played in the water. From there, I noticed southward along the coast a group of people I thought were clammers. They numbered twenty or so and they were walking through a muddy, exposed plain of sea life that had been exposed by the low tide.
When I got closer, I saw the tide pools. There were kids playing in them but they were being careful. No one stomped through the water or dipped nets into the puddles to pull out wriggling fish. No one dug for clams, either. Instead, local experts, sea life hobbyists, had set up an informal sort of office. They pointed out the fish, chiton, and other types of life in the tide pools. Low tide was the perfect time for them.
As we strolled through, inspecting the pools carefully, we found barnacles, sea stars, crabs, anemones, sculpins, chiton, sea cucumbers, and abalones. Moving off carefully to the sides, we found small animals no one else had noticed yet. Diane found a pair of anemones, purplish and beautiful, in a wide pool at the southmost edge of the tide pool area.
Our explorations came to an end eventually, though, and we marched off in search of a trail head.
The one we chose was the Pass Lake Trail, which started above Cranberry Lake. It was a friendly path, at first, with a view of the water. It soon swept uphill, however. Trees, moss, and lichen blocked everything else from view. After about a mile and a half, we hit part of the loop that no one hikes. We started wishing for staves or machetes to cut a new path. The place had become overgrown. It was slow going.
Along every two meters of the way, though, we came across fallen branches with lichen on them. It solidified a hard-to-prove theory in my mind.