The Wild Olympic Coast

Olympic Coast  009Olympic Coast  011Our first glimpse of the wild Olympic coast was at Ruby Beach, a popular beach with sea stacks and pink sands.  As with most beaches around here, giant driftwood logs were everywhere.

It was foggy, which we were about to discover was a common occurrence around these parts.Olympic Coast  010

 

We had a distant view of the ominously named Destruction Island Lighthouse, first lit in 1892, beyond the rough surf.

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Olympic Coast  016Next we visited Kalaloch, also a popular beach, with a rustic lodge and miles of coastline.   The restaurant at the lodge has a delicious sounding menu and seating overlooking the gorgeous beach. And doggies are allowed on the beach and in the areas outside of the lodge.

Olympic Coast  017We had planned a rendezvous with Paul and Nina who arrived in the town of La Push, twenty minutes from Forks, a few days after we arrived. We’ve been hopscotching up the west coast on similar itineraries so we’ve met them along the way.  Fun! They invited us over for cocktail hour and dinner and a sunset stroll afterwards.

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Sweet Polly

So we crossed over into La Push, which according to the Twilight Saga, is werewolf territory.  No vampires are allowed, as they’d be breaking the treaty between the vampires and werewolves.

And, of course, for enhanced werewolf possibilities, we chose the eve of the full moon to get together.Olympic Coast  014Olympic Coast  022

Olympic Coast  023La Push is also the tribal center of the Quileute Indians. Nina and Paul found a wonderful campsite at the Quileute Oceanside Resort steps from the beach. They are the masters at planning!

After a lovely dinner, the four of us went for a walk on First Beach, not creatively named but stunning just the same.

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Olympic Coast  029Angel and I took off for a run on the gorgeous beach. And found one of the most gigantic trees we have ever seen laying on a beach. Complete with a huge group of people getting their photograph while sitting on top.

Hector got friendly with the group while taking their photo and found out that they were trustees of the Nature Conservancy. Cool.

Olympic Coast  034Olympic Coast  032The master photographers, Nina and Hector brought their tripods along for the sunset and moonrise. Dogs are allowed on First Beach so of course, Paul and Nina’s sweet dog, Polly came along.   Angel and Polly had fun by the water’s edge. So fun to watch.

 

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Olympic Coast  036Olympic Coast  040Olympic Coast  039And, as usual on the eve of the full moon, the moon rose just as the sun set. And she was beautiful.

Olympic Coast  035Olympic Coast  038Olympic Coast  041Olympic Coast  045Olympic Coast  046The twilight sky was lovely with soft colors and wispy clouds.  A special time to be by the ocean.Olympic Coast  044

Olympic Coast  042Olympic Coast  018Just when we thought the evening couldn’t get better we were treated to Paul’s homemade flan for dessert.

One of the best flans I’ve ever eaten – I truly mean that. Delish!

After lots more fun conversation, we headed out and found that the beach had been totally fogged in. Thick, wet fog. Perhaps to keep the werewolves under cover.Olympic Coast  025

Olympic Coast  002The following day, after our Hurricane Ridge outing, we drove down to Port Angeles to watch the full moon. It was quite foggy once again, and we were afraid she wouldn’t show.Olympic Coast  005

But she popped up over the marine layer, and we enjoyed another beautiful moonlit night over the water. Yay!Olympic Coast  004

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Olympic Coast  060Olympic Coast  059Our last exploration of the coast was to Cape Flattery, the north westernmost point of the lower 48. The cape is located in Neah Bay, on the Makah Indian Reservation, so we had to purchase a Recreation Permit ($10) to use the parking lot and hike the trail.Olympic Coast  061Olympic Coast  063Olympic Coast  064Olympic Coast  065

We drove west on the north shore of the peninsula along the Strait of Juan de Fuca which separates Washington from Vancouver Island in Canada.juan de fucaOlympic Coast  058Olympic Coast  050Olympic Coast  052Olympic Coast  047We passed through the tiny village of Clallam Bay.Olympic Coast  062

A songbird belting it out

A songbird belting it out

We stopped at a fisherman’s house that advertised fresh salmon but alas the smallest he had was over 10 pounds!  Not a fit for the Island Girl fridge 🙁Olympic Coast  049

Olympic Coast  053Olympic Coast  054Then the pretty harbor at Sekiu with lots of cute “running” salmon and other wooden sculptures around.Olympic Coast  055Olympic Coast  048Olympic Coast  056Olympic Coast  057

Olympic Coast  066Another foggy day, but we pressed on since it was our last day. It’s a very short trail (1 1/2 miles roundtrip) to the tip of Cape Flattery.

And, yes, on this day we experienced the wet coastal rainforest, the way it’s meant to be. Wet.Olympic Coast  067

Olympic Coast  098We passed a couple of different photographer types returning, and when they noticed Hector’s equipment (he had both his cameras) they each said “I hope it clears up by the time you reach the end.” Hmmm.Olympic Coast  100Olympic Coast  097

Olympic Coast  070Olympic Coast  072Although the fog remained, it was more misty than thick and we saw cliffs and caves jutting into the ocean.  The Cape Flattery Lighthouse is out there on Tatoosh Island somewhere.  But not visible to us this day 🙁Olympic Coast  099Olympic Coast  077Olympic Coast  068Olympic Coast  071Olympic Coast  073

Olympic Coast  074Then, on an overview just prior to the tip of the cape, we spotted a gull feeding her three little babies (with big feet!) on the side of the cliff.Olympic Coast  076

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On the NW tip of the Lower 48

On the NW tip of the Lower 48

And when we reached the end of the trail at the NW tip of our country, the ultimate reward: a gray whale feeding inside the cave and just under the overview!  An astounding sight. There was a small crowd, some that had never seen a whale, and here was a whale just below us.Olympic Coast  081

Olympic Coast  087The whale stayed near the surface and swam back and forth right under us. It was the closest we’ve ever seen a whale to the shore, let alone swimming inside a cave. Even when she was underwater, you could see her silhouette.

Olympic Coast  079Olympic Coast  089Olympic Coast  078Olympic Coast  091To top it all off we witnessed something we’ve never seen before.  A HUGE single bubble popped up when the whale was underwater.  Apparently a whale fart.  We’re not kidding, We looked it up.  Hector, who was hugely amused by this, says we’re too lucky 🙂

Then we spotted a tufted puffin in the water.  Because of the fog we didn’t see others, although there were likely more on rocks nearby.  Still, it was great luck to see one in the water.

And, finally, the whale set out to sea.Olympic Coast  084Olympic Coast  092

Olympic Coast  082What a wonderful sendoff on our last day before crossing the border into Canada.

~ BrendaOlympic Coast  043

16 thoughts on “The Wild Olympic Coast

  1. Wow! You guys certainly managed to pack it in with visits. Love, love, love the sunset pics from our evening together. I knew they would be good and they were. Enjoyed many of your foggy pics too and happy you finally got to experience that wet rainforest LOL. A great roundup of the area.

    Nina

    • Yes, we did, but we did take a down day before visiting you that afternoon. If we go back, we’ll stay at least a few night at the Quileute Resort 🙂 You and Hector both had great photos, as always.
      Brenda

  2. Once again Hector managed to capture all the beauty this area has to offer. What great luck you had with your sightings. The whale is fantastic!! Love that you got to see a puffin.

    Another great time with super people. I am sure Polly was thrilled to have a friend:)

    • It was another special time with friends and nature. Polly and Angel get together briefly and then ignore each other – it’s funny.
      Brenda

  3. Ohhh….you got to see a puffin! That’s been high on my list of desires for years. And such a fabulous sighting and photos of the gray whale, too. Thanks for the lovely tour of a fascinating area (and the beautiful sunset/moonrise).

    • If you want to see tufted puffins, there are also lots of puffins on Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach in Oregon. They are only there for a brief period to nest, and there are volunteers on the beach with scopes. They are so adorable!

  4. How awesome!!!! Loved the recount of the whale and the gull babies. And the coastline looks so striking and beautiful! Also, loved seeing Angel girl playing with Polly! She looks really happy and peaceful as do you both in all of the photos you post of you guys.

    The rainforest, wowee! I have such an affinity to moist climates – deep rich colors and so nurturing. And how very cool that you had a chance to meet up with Nature Conservancy trustees!!! Those TNC folks sure enjoy getting out to appreciate our amazing natural world. : ) Well, sweetie peas, better get going here. Thanks oodles for sharing the magic!!! Love you…

    • Cape Flattery was a magical place. Angel is doing great. Definitely thought of you when Hector told me that group was with the Nature Conservancy.
      Hug,
      Brenda

  5. Breathtaking images and so many great ideas for touring Washington. How great that you were able to capture a puffin, something I would love to see someday. I especially loved the photos of Angel and Polly frolicking on the shore. I have missed Paul’s cooking (excellent chef he is) and can almost taste that flan. 🙂

    • We love puffins, there were lots in Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach, but they’re only there a brief time nesting. Angel and Polly are such sweet girls. Haven’t had much of Paul’s cooking, but the flan was really fabulous.
      Brenda

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