27 April 2013

Still rummaging in the corner

Continuing the journey then after Cape Flattery, we stayed for a few nights in La Push, WA (yes, that La Push) and used it as our base for exploring more of the area.  I promise I took lots of photos of the whole Stephanie Meyer Twilight inspired cheesy goodness, which I'll cover in my next blog entry. 

For now though, lets talk beaches and the Hoh Rain Forest.

La Push is surrounded by water which you can see from this map view.  It really is just a small town that, like so many of the others in the region, you wouldn't visit unless you were very into fishing, hiking, or the beaches. There is a resort there which is probably the nicest you'll find in the area (including Forks) but if you are thinking of going, bring your own food as the few restaurants close early, if they open at all.

La Push is bordered to the north by the Quileute River, and on the other side is the Olympic National Park and Rialto Beach.  The beach has easy access from a parking lot, and there is no entrance fee.

The town, and aforementioned resort are on First Beach, followed to the south are Second and Third Beach.  Second and Third Beach will require a hike to reach, but the trail to Second Beach seemed well-maintained and are popular with the locals and hikers. You can purchase a permit from the resort to have a fire on the beach, and inquire about camping.

We also did a day trip to the Hoh Rain Forest within Olympic National Park. They have several short hikes as well as longer backpacking trips available.  And the usual National Park Services goodness - friendly rangers, critters that beg by the picnic areas, good ecological interpretation and elk that nonchalantly grazed by the road while we tourists snapped photos. It felt mysterious, old, and still even while teeming with life all around us and I highly recommend it. Most of my photos though are of the small details, as it is really hard to show in a picture just how enormous those trees really are.  

First Beach, Resort, looking north.

First Beach, looking south.

The boy clambering on this log looked to be about eight, 
if that gives you an idea of its size.

First Beach

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach
Second Beach
Second Beach
The magical road through to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center. 

Every National Park has a "Hall of..." something.

Life, from a fallen tree.

No fairy or hobbit sightings, darn it.

21 April 2013

Exploring the Corners of the United States

The Historian and I took a long weekend away in March, and wandered up to Cape Flattery, and down through Forks and La Push, and into the Hoh Rainforest.  

Traveling to this area from Seattle needs at least two nights to avoid very long days - as with most rural areas there is a lot of driving between sites and really couldn't be accomplished in a day.  

We started off going through Port Angeles, then along the north coast through Clallam Bay and Seiku and made it to the Cape in late afternoon.  Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost corner of the contiguous United States, and is contained within the lands of the Makah Reservation.  (In fact, we traveled through four reservations on the trip Makah, QuileuteJamestown S'Klallam and Elwha.)  
Doubtless Ms. Salmon frowns due to the indignity of having to wear clothes.

In the future I'd try to get there in the morning, as the late afternoon sun made for a lot of back-lit photos but it was still beautiful.  To travel to the Cape, visitors are required to purchase a $10 pass from the local store, and we found the Makah to be exceptionally warm, friendly, and chatty people.  When the restaurant we tried to go to was closed, one of the locals spotted us, asked if we were hungry, and suggested we join everyone at the community center to watch a basketball game.  Utterly charming.  

I also highly recommend the Makah Cultural and Research Center.  In less than two hours you can see a well-curated small museum whose focus is artifacts from the Ozette Archaeological Site.  Approximately 500 years ago, six longhouses were buried by a massive mudslide, and therefore preserved until 1970 when a massive storm uncovered the first artifacts.  The museum is well curated, and showcases the processes by which the people manufactured tools, etc.  America's own mini-Pompeii.

Views from Cape Flattery.

Tatoosh Island emerges from the fog, Cape Flattery.
There is a lighthouse there as well, and had been used by the Makah
as a launch point for whale hunts.

Hobuck Beach, Makah Reservation
A study in geology, Hobuck Beach.