The snow is pelting down forming a soft slush on the highway. I keep my eye on the temperature watching for it to hit freezing. Late winter weather. Snow one moment and sunshine the next. But often the landscape is a study in gray.
I have decided to trace Highway 30 across Oregon. For some reason, ever since I heard it could be traced all the way across the United States, it has become a fixation. Tonight I am sitting alongside the Columbia River just outside of Astoria at Highway 30’s western end.
I am slogging through one of the braided estuaries of the Columbia called Wolf Bay. There is snow here too. The snow has followed me or raced to meet me for nearly 500 miles. Tonight it fell as sleet and scattered like birdshot over the water as I watched skeins and rafts of birds rise and land. Swans, geese, mergansers, mallards, gulls, hawks and two eagles. There were more but it got too dark to identify them and I was too cold to stay long.
While this is the end of my trip, it is the beginning of my story. I will retell it backwards from Astoria…..where it is winter and it is snowing at the beach.