Our 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.
We had a distant view of the ominously named Destruction Island Lighthouse, first lit in 1892, beyond the rough surf.
Next 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.
We 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.
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.
La 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.
Angel 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.
The 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.
One of the best flans I’ve ever eaten – I truly mean that. Delish!
The 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.
Our 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.
Then the pretty harbor at Sekiu with lots of cute “running” salmon and other wooden sculptures around.
We 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.
Although 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 🙁
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.
The 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.
To 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.