Crescent City through a tourist’s eyes

By Michele Grgas Thomas The Triplicate May 04, 2011 06:25 pm

 Sandy Perkin photographs a congregation of loons swimming across Crescent City Harbor on Sunday afternoon. The Daily Triplicate/Michele Thomas
Sandy Perkin photographs a congregation of loons swimming across Crescent City Harbor on Sunday afternoon. The Daily Triplicate/Michele Thomas
An old friend came to see me recently. Kathy was my buddy since first grade and through high school. My most cherished memory involving Kathy was the week I spent as a house guest at her family’s beach cottage on Balboa Island the summer after eighth grade

 After we graduated from high school I didn’t see Kathy again until our 25th reunion. That afternoon she told me she’d been fighting leukemia. I wrote about her in 2008 when I “found” her alive and well just days before our 40th reunion. She wasn’t able to make it to the reunion, so our recent visit was the first time we’ve seen each other in 18 years.

Kathy and her husband Gary were just passing through on their way from Clayton in Contra Costa County to vacation on the northern Oregon coast.  It was a miserable, wet and windy day.  We met for lunch and had a nice visit, but they were in a hurry to get back on the road and the weather wasn’t conducive to sight-seeing anyway. I sent them back to 101 via Pebble Beach Drive and Kathy called me later to tell me how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place.

Last weekend, Rick’s Portland State fraternity brother Paul Perkin and his lovely wife Sandy stopped by on a roundabout trip from Utah to Alaska.

 They drove from Ogden to Novato, where they visited an ailing uncle then came up Hwy. 101 to see us. They’re on their way to Seattle where they’ll board a small (70 passenger) cruise ship Saturday for an Inland Passage Adventure Cruise. It’s not anything like the cruise Rick and I took last fall – on the adventure cruise you bring your serious hiking gear and wet suits.

 Sandy inherited the family cabin on a lake in Wyoming and that’s where she and Paul spend their summers. They hike for miles, cut their own trees for firewood and grow their own vegetables.

They winter in Ogden to be close to the ski slopes as they are both avid and accomplished downhill skiers.

Sandy and Paul arrived Saturday evening and over dinner asked us about the tsunami. They’ve been following the story on The Daily Triplicate’s Web site and were anxious to see the damage at the harbor firsthand.

 We awoke to sunshine and blue skies Sunday morning and Rick suggested a hike after breakfast along the rugged coastline at Point St. George. Wildflowers – much larger than the ones in Wyoming, they said – were putting on quite a show.

 Next we drove to Enderts Lookout where we were the only people in sight. It was incredibly warm and the views were — well, it was Enderts Lookout on a clear and sunny day. What more can I say?

 “You must wake up every morning grateful to be living here,” Sandy remarked.

 We drove down to the parking lot by the Chart Room to check on the current moorages where fishing boats and sea lions share space. The parking lot and the restaurant were full of tourists and locals. We weren’t lucky enough to get a table by the windows, but sunlight reflected off the water and poured in, brightening the entire room.

 After clam strips and chowder we drove to the inner basin. As we stood assessing the harbor, I couldn’t help but notice that it didn’t look as bad as it did the last time I was there, on a cold and rainy afternoon.

 Despite its current state of disrepair, the harbor was inviting to a dozen or so loons gliding through. Through their eyes and ours, the rust and ragged edges of this ill-fated harbor didn’t diminish the beauty or the possibilities on a sunny afternoon.

Reach Michele Thomas, The Daily Triplicate’s publisher, at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , 464-2141, or stop by 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.