For several months, Mitch has been designing a ramp that would start at the top of the Bluff and go down to the beach without any turns. Since we have about 435 feet of ocean front, a ramp like this was feasible, although the terrain was rough and it would have to be built carefully. Along this coast line there are houses that are defined as “High Bank” (about 50 feet or higher than sea level), “Mid-bank” (around 25 feet higher than sea level) and “Low Bank” (only a few feet above sea level). There are pluses and minuses with each type of property, but in all cases you want to be able to access the beach as easily as possible. Some people have built roadways, others have built stairs, ramps or paths. Usually it is just a ‘means of access”, nothing more.
We decided that we wanted the ramp to be an experience in itself. Starting at the Eastern end of the meadow, there is a short path that leads you into the woods with a sign “to the beach”. This little 25 foot path takes you to the top of the ramp and will end up being a little shade garden in it’s own right. At the moment, it is a rough path and will need a lot of cleanup, landscaping and planting. However on hot days it will be a pleasant start to the ramp.
The ramp itself has three different decks. The first deck near the top of the ramp is the “Sky View Deck”. It has room for six or eight people to enjoy the view down the strait and across to Texada Island. We keep four bar chairs on this deck and use it regularly for cocktail hour, impromptu lunches or little get-togethers with friends. The next deck is the “Lovers’ Deck”. This is smaller and only has room for two chairs. It faces into the Bluff where I am creating a special garden in a natural amphitheater on the side of the bluff, called the “Mom’s Garden”. This will be the topic of it’s own post, once I get it built out a bit more. The amount of brush, tree trunks and Blackberry brambles I’ve had to remove has kept me busy for several weeks. The two pictures below are brush and trees that I removed from about 25 feet of bank. The last deck, which will be ideal on hot summer days is the “Shade Deck”. This deck is nestled in underneath some maple trees, a fir tree and a couple of cedar trees. It’s also close enough to the beach that it gets a nice cool breeze off the ocean.
You may wonder why we’ve called it the “Great Ramp of Graham”. This ramp was built almost single-handedly by a local fellow named Graham. When he first started, we could see that this was going to be a big project, so l (somewhat jokingly) said we’d call it “The Great Ramp of Graham”. I’ve since learned that names have a way of sticking. Perfect case in point.
Enjoy Mitch’s video of the GRG at the top of this post. It gives you a good sense of the ramp. As we clean up the bank and get it planted, I’ll do posts on some of the specific gardens. We have a LOT of work to do now down at the beach and all along the bluff. These projects will keep us busy all summer and for several more to come.