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Olympic Coast

April 2009: Various points on the Olympic Coast

Second Sunset
Dusk settles on Second Beach.
Still waters reflect the light from an arch in the coastal headland.
Ruby Sunset
Sunlight and clouds paint the sky at dusk on Ruby Beach.
A lone bubble holds on...
Sea foam recedes over the dark sands of Ruby Beach
Gone Fishin'
A lone fisherman casts his rod into the ocean at Ruby Beach.
Living in the Pool
A sea anemone filters water in a small tidepool on Rialto Beach.
Patterns in the driftwood along Rialto Beach tell a long story. Once, this tree was a seedling in a forest. What series of events brought it to this state?
Morning Tide
The tide lowers to reveal pools in the early morning light.
Waves and Rocks
The wavy shape of this shoreline rock echoes the patterns of the ocean surface.
Rialto Morning
A view to rocks and islands offshore of Rialto Beach in the early morning. Rialto Beach is near the town of La Push, WA.

February 2009: Overnight on Shi Shi beach

The start of the trail to Shi Shi beach starts off quite nice, with a couple boardwalks and bridges over the soggy ground below. This is a very rainy place, and boardwalks like these are often the only way to keep one's feet dry.
Soon though, the trail builders either ran out of money or time or energy or imagination... and the trail is routed along an old roadbed that turns into a muddy mess with a little rain. Truth be told though, the mud isn't that bad. There tends to be about 4-6 inches of it in most places, and it's mostly made of rotting forest debris - which means it's not sticky. Also, just below the mud layer is a hard-packed roadbed. Actually, it wouldn't take a whole lot of work to scrape-off the mud layer, making the trail mud-free for a decade or so. I'm sure part of the trouble is the trail is so remote...
These Black Oystercatchers pick through the tidepools in search of a tasty morsel.
Lonely Shores
One of the nice things about visiting Shi Shi beach in the winter is the solitude. On a summer weekend, hundreds of people might make this trip. In the winter, the population is down to a handful.
Most of the best camp spots are just inside the tree line, protected from the winds.
Sunset Reflections
The wet sands reflect the colors of an amazing sunset on Shi Shi beach. The rocks on the horizon are known as the "Point of Arches".
Seastacks lead out to the horizon on Shi Shi beach.
Land Mirrors Sky
One more look at the colors and shapes that make Shi Shi beach so spectacular and unique.
From One Planet to Another
Venus has been particularly bright in the sky recently - bright enough that you can see the landscape at night. Though, it helps to be in a dark corner of the world, with no metropolitan light to spoil the darkness. This long exposure amplifies the brilliance, showing another side to Shi Shi beach, and this planet we call home.

February 2005: Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach is located just south of Cape Flattery on the north end of the Olympic Peninsula. A 2-3 mile sometimes muddy trail leads to a beautiful and rugged section of coast. Chris & I headed down the trail for a quick overnight trip.

The parking area is located on the Makah Indian Reservation. There is a recreation fee of $7, plus it's $10 for overnight parking at a residence near the trailhead. After we parked, a large, friendly Newfoundland dog started following us, and remained close by for the duration of the trip. Pets aren't allowed on the beach, but since she wasn't really "our" pet, there wasn't much we could do about it. She was a good companion... even if she did drool a bit, and lead to some awkward, "She's not our dog!" moments. She slept nearby our camp, and headed out with us the next morning.
The Edge
The trail reaches the shore just south of these rock formations. The tide was heading out when we arrived. We spent a good deal of the time exploring the tidal pools up and down the beach. It's always interesting to see how creatures have adapted to life in this thin ecosystem that exists between sea and land.
Eventually, we headed south a few miles toward the point of the arches - seen here in the distance. There were maybe 3-4 other groups of people camped on the beach while we were there, hardly a crowd. We all enjoyed the unseasonably warm and sunny weather.
Sunset, Stacks and Sand
Every sunset is someone else's sunrise... halfway around the world. I hope they had as splendid a day as we did.
Point of the Arches
The glow of the sun persisted for some time... giving a warm backdrop to the formations on the point of arches.

February 2003: A tour of the Olympic Coast

The Olympic coast west of Lake Ozette is a great place to explore Washington's wild coastline. If you get to the coast when the tides are low, there are miles of tide-pools to discover.
A Star
The ocean is a fascinating thing. I had the impression this starfish was backed-into a corner.
Olympic Morning
Despite being in one of the rainiest places on earth, during the rainiest time of year, we only encountered short periods of rain. The sun even made a few brief showings.
On the Boardwalk
In the Lake Ozette area, the coast can only be reached via a few miles of slippery boardwalks strung through the temperate rainforest.
Black-Tailed Deer
The deer along the coast are numerous and tame. Sightings of bald eagles and raccoons are also common.
Second Beach
This is another area of the Olympic coast, "second beach", just south of the town of La Push.

March 2001: A tour of the Olympic Coast

This deer barely moved as I inched-in for a close-up
Tatoosh Island
Tatoosh Island is visible from Cape Flattery. A short trail leads to the cape - the most northwest point in the lower 48 states.
Skunk cabbage was just emerging.
The tides bring in all sorts of interesting things. This nike shoe was likely one that fell from a container ship a few years prior (an incident that made some local news when it happened). It was a "new" shoe, but had obviously been in the sea for some time - supporting a number of small sea creatures.
Shifting Waters
The changes in the look of the coast from low tide to high tide are dramatic

Where is it?

The Olympic coast is the northwest Pacific coast of Washington state - the western shore of the olympic peninsula. Shi Shi beach is at the very northern end. The Ozette area is just south of Shi Shi beach.

Before you go...
If you want to camp in the coastal region of Olympic National Park, familiarize yourself with the National Park and Indian Reservation regulations. Reservations are required in the summer for the Lake Ozette area. Summer is slightly "greener" and drier, but there are less people & more storms in winter (yes, storms are a "feature" of the coast).

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