Scratchpad: The Monthly Stack, The Three Graces

Nov. 23—Resting in the shallow tidewaters of the channel that leads from the Pacific into Tillamook Bay, a set of sandstone sentinels reveal a hidden landscape as tides pull inward.

These are The Three Graces, inland sea stacks emblematic to the nearby town of Garibaldi, visible along the bends of U.S. Highway 101. Prone to microclimate fog and sun breaks, on some mornings the rocks appear and disappear from view, marked from shoreside railroad tracks only by an unnamed rock to their east.

Some have also called them crab rocks, a nod to the bay's populations of Dungeness and red rock. But during especially low tides, when the graces are accessible from land, the intertidal zone also houses rock-dwelling anemones, ochre stars and shellfish.

Above the sea, a windswept snag and several smaller trees cling to the rocks' edge, a landing spot for cormorants, pelicans and other shorebirds.

To access the rocks from shore, stop at the Capt. Robert Gray historical marker or at the wide bend in the road near Harborview Drive. With the right experience and timing — stay aware of the wind and current — the rocks also make for a memorable kayak trip.