Real seaweed that looks fake
I've wanted to visit Glass Beach in Fort Bragg for years, but we never got around to it. I first read about the beach about a week after we'd returned from a trip to Mendocino. I hate when the universe's timing is off. This trip, it was the only thing on our wide-open agenda. Glass Beach used to be a garbage dump back when the ocean was treated like a garbage disposal. Not like now, where oceans are treated with care and have been restored to their pristine condition, for example, the Gulf of Mexico. Oh wait...scratch that. Anyway, an alternative garbage dump was established in 1967 and toxic dumping at Glass Beach was prohibited. The glass left behind all over the beach is the result of the spot's dark past. Most of it, at least. Some of the largest bottle chunks indicate some one's been drinking Coronas at the beach and leaving the empties behind.
There were tiny pebbles of sea glass everywhere, and even though we'd read that collecting was prohibited, everyone there was scavenging for good pieces. One family brought a Costco-sized detergent tub to hold their haul. As we approached the beach, we saw an old woman precariously clinging to the side of a bluff. At first I thought she'd gotten stuck trying to climb out and needed help, but then I noticed the bag hanging from her wrist and saw that she was collecting the hard to reach glass. The sea glass was pretty, but not worth risking one's life. That lady was on her way to earning a Darwin Award. If something tragic happened to her, I imagined her family saying, "Grandma died doing what she loved...taking free stuff."