February 18, 2013
I was cleaning out my basement guest room when I found my notes from my Seattle Trip in April last year. Cool! Since this is such a great discovery and also a good supplement to my vivid memory of this trip, I figure that I should flush out the rest of my memories of this experience to text before they fade into the ether. Here goes.
We started off day three of the trip at 8:30, heading out in the Jeep towards Olympic National Park (nestled all the way in the upper-left side of Washington state). It’s very sunny but also extremely cold. Unfortunately I’ve caught some 24-hour bug that is driving me crazy, so at the first available stop along the way I pick up some medicine to fend off the ick – there’s no way I’m going to let a headache ruin this once-in-a-lifetime experience! After 20 minutes of zoning out in the car, I’m good to go.
We start up Hurricane Ridge towards the visitor’s center at the top. We’re at an elevation of 5,242 feet and the wind is blistering. The snow is thick and packed, towering 12 feet over the car on either side of the road. It’s enough to make a person feel small. Fortunately the visibility is fantastic, and we can see Mt. Olympus in the far distance when a clearing appears. We linger around a bit in the visitor’s center, taking in the views while enjoying the warmth of being inside. As we head back down, we spot a bobcat casually crossing the road.
We pass by Lake Crescent, which is still clear and glass-calm. It makes for a great reflection of the surrounding mountain ranges. As we’re stopping to admire the view, a strange but well-meaning guy tries to sell us a biography of his “grand-pappy” that he’d written. We politely decline and scamper back into the Jeep.
We make our way to Ozette – our destination – and take the beautiful 3 mile hike out to Sand Point. The wind still carries a stiff chill with it, but we don’t mind. Each of us has at least a 10 degree down bag to keep us warm through the night, which we plan to spend just a few dozen feet away from the Pacific ocean. We each have also brought hammocks as well, meaning that we would have a much bigger selection of spots to call home for the night. We scope out the area and quickly find a spot where all three of us can string up comfortably. It’s a spot right off the beach, but mostly protected from the wind.
Near our decided camping location was a point jutting out into into the ocean. We walked over there with a little light left in the day to check out the view.
It didn’t disappoint! I must have taken 100 pictures easily from the top of the outcrop with my jaw hanging open the whole time. It was just stunning – not something I’ll ever forget. If you look closely in these pictures you can see our camping spot way off to the left, nestled in the crescent and away from the wind.
As we’re walking back from the outcrop we spot a bald eagle cruising out just past the point. It was a clear reminder to us of how far out we were. We head to a pre-cleared camping location to boil brats and couscous for dinner. I forgot my own titanium pot at home, but I made due by cutting a gatorade bottle in half and using that instead. It isn’t something that I’d do by choice, but it worked! As the sun started its descent into the sea the temperature dropped and we soon prepared our hammocks for sleep. Our view from inside the hammocks went from this:
…to this in a matter of minutes:
I don’t know about the other two, but I certainly slept like a baby for most of the night. The waves lapping on the beach were nature’s lullaby. They only became an issue when the tide came in early in the morning, when they sounded a little too close for comfort.
In the morning we pack up our things and head north along the beach. Rather than heading back on the path on which we came in, we wanted to take in more of the scenery on our way out. The path took us through tons of driftwood and other miscellaneous obstacles. It was a slow-going three miles, but in my opinion the view was worth it. We saw another bald eagle perched on top of a rock outcrop, checking us out.
After navigating all the logs and moss, we arrive at the opening of the other fork of the Ozette trail. Looking back towards the ocean before heading into the forest reminded me so much of the movie “The Goonies.”
The trail itself is extremely unique. It’s made out of wood planking for the entire way so the hiker can avoid the messy, wet bog of the land below. It makes for really surreal pictures. Looking on Google Images of this trail after the fact makes me bitter, as you’ll find photographers that have taken post-processing way out of proportion when looking at mine you’ll see that it isn’t needed at all – this place is one of beauty without need for further alterations!
Once out of the park we get some food in Port Angeles, Washington. It’s a greasy diner-type place with bad coffee, but it warms us up and fills our stomachs. We try to make the nearby Port Townsend Ferry but miss it by two cars. To kill the time we walk the town and get some excellent coffee at a place called Better Living Through Coffee. Tommy and I get pour-overs of some Bolivian beans (if I recall correctly) while Bill gets some gourmet hot chocolate. All of us are content to take in the scenery of this wonderful little shop as we wait out the ferry. If you’re ever in the Port Townsend area, I highly recommend this place.
Arriving back home, we all collapse into our respective seats after taking what must have been the best showers of our lives. We’re completely spent and ready for some sleep for the next day, which we’ve planned to go to Vancouver.