Yesterday my family (brother, niece, my son & daughter) and I got up before dawn and headed out to Netarts Bay on the Oregon coast to catch the low tide for clamming. (about an 1 1/2 hour drive) We had the car packed in record time and were off!
When we got there the sun was shining and the sky was a brilliant blue. Everyone grabbed their clamming stick, bucket, shovels and we were off. The hike out there is about a mile. The first part of the hike we go through mud, silt and water that went up to mid thigh! And man was that cold!!!! Then we go through a combination of sand, mud, seaweed and of course more cold water! We then graduated to more sand & water, however the rippled sand was very deceiving and we sunk into it sometimes up to our ankles! Despite these obstacles everyone's spirits were high and I was excited that I was actually keeping up with everyone! About 20 minutes later we finally make it out as far as the water will let us.
Now starts the real exercise! We proceed to find our Gaper Clam holes...follow the neck down with are clam stick and then start digging a hole next to it! Some of these can go down up to 2 feet! (those are the biggest ones!) Once you got your hole dug, you then get down on hands and knees and start moving sand with you hand off toward the clam stick until you feel your prize! Now comes the fun part...sand and water start filling in the hole you meticulously dug! You work frantically to dislodge Mr. Clam and pull him out...all while the sand is sucking him down! It's like playing tug of war! You proceed to do this 12 times and sometimes more if you were unlucky to get out your quarry before everything collapses upon itself! Of course after I got my limit of 12 I was off to help my daughter obtain her 12, since she was looking for the much easier to obtain Cockle Clams! That meant 12 more holes to dig and helping to keep the sand at bay while she tugged her out her clams.
Now it is time to finish off our limit with the Cockle Clams! Eight more clams to find! These are much more fun but just as much of a work out. By then things have finally warmed up a bit but the water on the Oregon coast is seriously cold on a good day! Still, like troopers we wade out into the waters of the bay and start looking for our clams. Feeling with our feet and looking for the signs. Now this sounds like fun but it is a tremendous amount of work. For one, I didn't exactly want to take a full head on nose dive into the water! So trying to balance on shifting, sinking, sucking sand took every ounce of core muscles..some I wasn't aware of having! Walking on the shifting sand and through mid thigh water without face planting it was very challenging for us all and it made me very envious of my long legged 6'4" son!!
About an hour later we took a tally and everyone had their limit of 20 clams...each in our own separate bucket. (Which is the law.) It was a good thing too because the tide was beginning to come in at a very quick rate. By that time we were a good mile and a half from where we parked our car. (sigh) However we now had to navigate all that lovely sinking sand, water, mud, muck and seaweed not only with our clamming sticks & shovels but also with about 20-25 lbs of clams in our buckets! Below is a picture of Netarts bay. You will see a main water channel that runs through it...we were all the way out to the tip...as far as we could walk!
By the time we got back to the car everyone was tired, sore and everyone had a fair share of sand and mud on their legs! (the girls more than their fair share!) Here we get to make a changing area with the car and blankets (no mud allowed in my car!) and everyone got into clean clothes with washed legs & feet.
The next order of business was a bathroom break and lunch! We took the short drive down to Cape Lookout State Park where they have bathrooms and picnic tables. We packed the cooler & bags of food over to a picnic table and enjoyed a very healthy lunch of homemade baked chicken, black bean salad, fresh veggies, fruit and a ton of water!
Everyone agreed that it was way too early in the day to head home and the day absolutely gorgeous. So we decided to walk the beach in search of agates! We lugged everything back to the car and set off down the path to the beach. There we walked about a mile where my son found some rocks that had agates in them. We then were picking up rocks and trying to break out the agates. Bending, lifting, banging...hiking over rocks...needless to say 2 hours later I was ready to call it a day. We hiked back to the car and headed on home.
Of course it wasn't over yet. Once home we unpacked everything out of the car and then rinsed off all the clams...packing them in my "clamming cooler" to cover them with ice & water to sit for about 24 hours. (This way we can open and clean them!)
By the time we were done and showered it was time for dinner, which was grilled turkey burgers & salad! I was way too tired to get complicated. Sitting down for dinner I realized that every muscle in my body was on fire!
Conservatively (not counting packing, unpacking the car & pulling out clams) I burned a whopping 2,466 calories! Was it boring? Absolutely not! Did it feel like exercise? Not really...we were too busy laughing and being excited! Was it a good workout? Most assuredly since today I feel like I've spent 36 hours in a gym with a trainer from hell!
I seriously can't wait for the next low tide! We have so much fun, I love eating the clams and who can pass up burning all those calories having fun?