The Sand Dunes

The Gualala River & The Dunes

The sand barrier that separates the Gualala River from the Pacific Ocean tapers down at the northern cliff where the river usually breaks free with the first rains of the fall season. The southern end of the barrier is composed of low, rolling sand dunes filled with colorful wildflowers. The dunes muffle the sound of the waves breaking against the far shore and shield the area from the strongest sea breezes. The wildflowers usually prefer the warmer intra-dune depressions and the lagoon side of the mounds of blown sand. Where they have fully established themselves, they go a long way toward stabilizing the dunes, particularly at the south end of the barrier.

“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
Rachel Carson