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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Treasure From Trash: Sea Glass Beach

There was a second reason I wanted to go to Port Townsend, WA besides it was someplace new to visit.  As I’d said earlier, I keep files of places I want to visit. 

One of those files was labeled:  “Glass Beaches”.  

And one of those glass beaches was at Port Townsend.
We arrived a full day before Himself had to be in class.  After checking the tide tables, we picked the best time to start our hike down the beach.  I wanted maximum time for glass hunting!  

The guide I had called it a “short” hike.   

They lied.  

Or at least, in my humble opinion, 3 to 4 miles on a sandy, rocky beach is not short.  It’s not long, but it is not “short” either.  

And you have to come back…

But it is a beautiful hike.  We started fairly early in the morning as the tide was pulling back. 

We noticed a couple studying a bluff with binoculars, so we started looking.  (Had to be interesting… right?)  They explained that a pair of peregrine falcon was nesting in the area and they were looking for them.   

Ahhhh, that explained the calls I had been hearing.  

We continued our hike and soon I was hearing a lot of raptor complaining.  Between the surf and the echoes of the bluffs it was hard to pinpoint where the sound was coming from but soon I spotted the griper.  Below him/her (?) was another falcon completely ignoring the racket.

The bluffs are sand… or the worst sandstone I’ve ever seen.  Place after place there had been avalanches.  Some had even brought down stairways from the spendy houses at the top of the bluffs.  

In other places, they are coming down grain by grain of sand, like a giant hourglass.

After about 90 minutes of walking, I was starting to feel it in my joints.  That shifting sand works muscles you’ve forgotten you have.   

See that point waaaay behind me?  (Not the island you can see over my left shoulder).  It is around that point the glass beach is located.

But once we got there, it was worth it!  In the little gravel bars were was all sorts of sea glass.  And some pottery shards worn smooth and beautiful too.  

We relaxed and picked thru the sand for several hours.  There were very few people and no one was really close to anyone else.  

Then it was time to get back to the parking lot at North Beach before the tide turned and caught us out.   

That is when I discovered something amazing had happened.  Some time while we were on Glass Beach, the beach between there and North Beach had stretched!!!   

It did!!  Our 3 to 4 mile hike out was at LEAST 25 miles going back.  I am absolutely sure of this! 

I was never so happy to see a parking lot in my life! 

Here is my treasure.  Lots of white and brown, and a good bit of blue and green.  At the top are pieces of white glass.  I’m guessing it is milk glass.  One the side are pieces of red, yellow and orange.  The yellow had 2 types, a translucent and an opaque glass pieces.  That pile of glass is about 2/3 of a gallon.  I hadn’t separated the big pile yet, but when I did there were quite a few that I will be able to make jewelry from.   

Guess I need to line up some more jewelry making classes!


  1. I have been to Port Townsend! Such a beautiful place!!!

  2. Such beautiful treasures! Wish we had something like that close around here.

  3. Do you have any idea why the glass would accumulate on just one area?

  4. I spent much time walking along this beach while I lived in Port Townsend, it's such a heavenly spot! Many years ago there used to be a dump on the bluff above Glass Beach and all that rubbish has been transformed into treasure now. I used to love finding marbles in the sand or tiny red bits of glass from old car signal lights. I enjoyed reliving my journeys through your blog, thank you.

  5. My friend and I just got back from Glass Beach. We had a beautiful day for beach walking and enjoyed finding many small pieces of beach glass. I agree with the comment that it is 3-4 miles to get there and 25 to get back! Joyce

  6. I was asked where to park by an anonymous commenter. As the post says... at North Beach parking lot. It's marked on the map.

  7. I have been there and the tide was up at the time..I found some rando0m small pieces... I will go back!

  8. I am spending 2 days in Port Townsend, the 20th & 21st of October. Is it safe to take this hike by myself? This is my 1st outing by myself, but I really want to go to this beach. I live in Birch Bay and walk the beaches all the time.
    Thanks for any input you have. Hoping the weather will be good.

    1. There were enough people (tho not crowded) that I would be comfortable going out by myself. Make sure you check the tides so you don't get stranded. The beach gets really narrow in places.


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