Seagulls, sunsets, and jogging on the beach

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Above: Seagulls at sunset in Seaside, OR. March, 2018.

(In the spirit of being a bit more productive on the writing front, and also because I had a photo or two to share, I’m back for a late March entry.)

The past week found me on the road again, for the 6th week in a row. It’s been a busy month and a half, with some unexpected personal travel in mid-February, and then a whole bunch of work travel in the weeks since then. This particular road trip was a bit more mellow than the previous few, as it involved a drive up the Oregon coast to Seaside, OR, for the yearly Forest Service PNW new employee orientation that’s held for all employees new to the region, the agency, or both. Somehow I was invited, and thought since I was new to the region last year, it would be nice to attend.

While the orientation was pretty generic for the most part, complete with bland presentations from most folks, it was good to see just what kind of folks are coming to work for the agency these days. Somewhat surprisingly to me, most of the 125 or so people in the room had been with the agency for less than three years… while I know it was “new employee” week, for some reason I expected to see a higher percentage of people like me, who were just new to the region, but not new to the Forest Service. Surprise number two came when a presenter asked folks to raise their hands if hey’d ever worked for the agency as a “1039 or temporary” employee, which at least in fire is a large part of the workforce, and how many people, if not most in some regions, gain the experience that they need to earn an entry-level permanent position. When asked, less than 25% of the room raised their hands to indicate they’d ever worked as a temporary, which meant that most had gone directly to a permanent position… seemed strange to me, but perhaps I’m a bit out of touch with how folks are hired these days.

It was nice to see some new parts of Oregon as well. I hadn’t been to that part of the state before, and my hotel (and the conference center) were only a few blocks away from the beach, and I’ll admit I took full advantage of the proximity almost every day. Funny as it sounds, I’d never gone jogging on a beach before, so I made sure to get in my daily PT with a jog on the beach three of the four days I was there. While I can’t say that I jogged particularly fast, it was enjoyable pounding out some miles on the beach instead of the pavement for a change.

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Above: Seagull and waves at sunset, Seaside, OR. March, 2018.

Two of the evenings I was there we had clear skies and colorful sunsets, and I had brought along one of my cameras just in case I had some time after work to wander around a bit. While I ended up not having a huge amount of time to hunt for good photos, I was able to get to the beach one evening just to see what I could see, and what I saw was seagulls. Since there wasn’t a whole lot for clouds in the sky or big rock formations like a little farther south, I was forced to look for other interesting things to work into the images, and the seagulls cooperated quite nicely. I’m pretty happy with what I got for images from maybe 20 minutes worth of shooting in the cold-ish stiff breeze that was blowing.

The town of Seaside I didn’t quite figure out in my short time there. Being as it’s still the off season for tourism, the town was pretty quiet mid-week, and it was nice to go out to eat at the local brewery without having to wait or deal with crowded streets as I walked around town and the promenade. On the flip side, it was pretty obvious that the whole downtown was targeting tourists with lots of gift shops and gimmicky eateries, and I have a feeling that during the busy season it’s pretty packed with folks from Portland and surrounding inland areas heading out for a weekend beach experience. Regardless of what it’s like during the busy season, I had an enjoyable time while I was there, and I think I’ll probably have to go back at some point as a tourist instead of on a work trip.

Until next time…

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About Justin Vernon

I'm an amateur photographer, wanna-be writer, tech aficionado, and a classic introvert who values quiet time as much as I do the mountains and people of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies.
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