Walked our butts to the Butteville Store

From our site here at the Champoeg State Heritage Area just south of Portland, OR, we took a little trip back in time along the Willamette River.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.  Yep, in the rain.  Because it's the Pacific Northwest, and if you don't get out and move, you'll mold.

Two miles out to the red 5, two miles back.
Yep, in the rain.
Because it’s the Pacific Northwest, and if you don’t get out and move, you’ll mold.

The bigger picture

The bigger picture

It was a gray and drizzly day...

It was a gray and drizzly day…

Oregon's longest operating store is closed for the season, which we knew before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway.

Oregon’s oldest continuously operating store, established in 1863, is closed for the season. We knew that before we headed out, but wanted to see it anyway. Worth the walk to peer inside the wavy glass and see the old tables, chairs and countertops inside.

"But Emily," you inquire. "We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?"

“But Emily,” you inquire. “We know you hate mud. Why did you go hiking four miles on a rainy day, idiot?”

Paved trails, bitches! I win.

Paved trails, bitches!
I win.

Nobody puts us in a corner. We’ll walk there our own damn selves.

Today’s adventure: the very outermost tip of the Olympic Peninsula, accessed by the Cape Flattery trail. It’s only 1.5 miles, round trip — easy for us. But we made the long drive because that little trail leads to a unique, wild, and beautiful spot: the northwesternmost point of the continental U.S.

Cape Flattery: the northwesternmost point in the continental United States

That’s it. That’s where we went.

From the Washington Trails Association, “Here, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific, Cape Flattery protrudes into a sea of tumultuous waters. A land of dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and deep narrow coves, Cape Flattery exhibits sheer rugged beauty. Scores of seabirds ride the surf and scavenge the sea stacks. Watch for whales and sea lions too… [from] the final viewing platform, teetering on the edge of terra firma.”

Other than a few of those seabirds, and 7 (seven!) bald eagles, the closest thing to wild animals we encountered on the trail was a pack of White North American Unwashed Hippies with one of their young. Wow. Reeking of weed would have been an improvement. All part of the adventure…

The forecast was not completely true. We got sunshine! Lots of it! But, that wind chill part was for real. Brrrrrr.

The forecast was not completely true. We got sunshine! Lots of it! But, that wind chill part was for real. Brrrrrr.

On the way to Neah Bay, we saw a bald eagle fly under this rainbow. It was indeed a harbinger of breathtaking scenes to come.

On the way to Neah Bay, we saw a bald eagle fly under this rainbow. It was indeed a harbinger of breathtaking scenery to come.

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Oh. Canada! (Those mountains across the water are on Vancouver Island.)

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Welcome figures at the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. We spent over an hour there, learning about the Makah tribal history. For nearly 4,000 years their people have occupied the Olympic Peninsula.

These figures welcomed us at our starting point, the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. We spent over an hour there, learning about Makah tribal history. For nearly 4,000 years their people have occupied the Olympic Peninsula.

$10 permit required to explore tribal lands, including the trails we hiked today. Seems a pittance, considering...

This $10 permit is required for exploring tribal lands, including the trails we hiked today.
Seems a pittance, considering…

At the Cape Flattery Trail Head, walking sticks provided by the Makah. Free for use-and-return, $5 to take-and-keep.

At the Cape Flattery Trailhead, we found a pleasant surprise: walking sticks provided by the Makah. Free for use-and-return, $5 to take-and-keep.

I chose one!

I chose one!

Next several shots: scenes from our hike along the Cape Flattery Trail. It's only 3/4 mile, but oh, where it took us!

Next several shots: scenes from our hike along the Cape Flattery Trail. It’s only 3/4 mile, but oh, where it took us!

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No tufted puffins today. Sorry, Maria. Wrong season.

No tufted puffins today. Sorry, Maria. Wrong season.

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At the end of the trail, which feels like it's at the end of the earth, we had a crystal clear view of the Cape Flattery Light, on Tatoosh Island, about half a mile from the coast.

At the end of the trail, which feels like it’s at the end of the earth, we had a crystal clear view of the Cape Flattery Light, on Tatoosh Island, about half a mile from the coast.

Here we are. Top left corner of CONUS. Check!

Top left corner of CONUS: check!

With Tatoosh Island behind us

With Tatoosh Island behind us

Since we finished at Cape Flattery by 1:30, we decided to make the most of the sunny skies (and our 3-hour drive to get there) by driving down to the Shi-Shi Beach Trail, which took us on a ridge above the Pacific Ocean.

Since we finished at Cape Flattery by 1:30, we decided to make the most of the sunny skies (and our 3-hour drive to get there) by driving down to the Shi Shi Beach Trail, which took us on a messy but really rather glorious walk along a ridge above the Pacific Ocean.

"Beach access in Olympic National Park is by steep trail." By which they mean there are actual ropes tied to trees to help you descend. At that point, we were short on both daylight and patience, so we skipped the potential cliff tumble and turned back.

“Beach access in Olympic National Park is by steep trail.” By which they mean there are actual ropes tied to trees to help you descend.
At that point, we were short on both daylight and patience, so we skipped the potential cliff tumble and turned back.

Two miles out, one mile of which was mud. Two miles back, same mud.

Two miles out, one mile of which was mud.
Two miles back, same mud, but tired feet.

I tried really, really hard to avoid it...

I tried really, really hard to avoid it…

But lost the battle on the way back to the trailhead.

It didn’t go well.

Yeah. That was a deep one.

Yeah. That was a deep one.

But definitely...

But definitely…

worth...

worth…

the reward.

the reward.

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We even saw a little frosty snowy stuff on the walkway.

Thank you, Makah tribe.
Your land is a treasure.
We showed it utmost respect by leaving only bootprints, and taking only memories.

I’m sure my journalism textbooks said something about always getting photos of the road kill. Maybe.

Walkies were a little different this morning.
– 39 degrees outside
– Raining (No really. Again! And I’m not losing my shit over it at all!)
– No Lola, for she is lame
– No sun, for it has forsaken me
But we were that desperate to get outside and get moving, and along the way, we saw a penny farthing mailbox, a dead bird, a potato rock, cows of the forest, and a wet cemetery. It’s kind of like the 12 days of Christmas, but through the eyes of David Lynch.
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Tim: Why on earth do you need a picture of a dead bird? Me: I don’t think you understand how photojournalism works. Tim: Well, are you going to report the cause of death? Me: IT DIED OF RAIN!

Tim: Why on earth do you need a picture of a dead bird?
Me: I don’t think you understand how photojournalism works.
Tim: Well, are you going to report the cause of death?
Me: IT DIED OF RAIN!

I thought it was a potato, even though roadside potatoes don't make sense. So I picked it up.  Rock.

I thought it was a potato, even though roadside potatoes don’t make sense. So I picked it up.
Rock. Not good for potato salad at all.

I don't think the Brothers Grimm wrote any fairy tales about forest bulls. Did they?

I don’t think the Brothers Grimm wrote any fairy tales about forest bulls, but they should have, because this would make an excellent illustration.

IMG_3954 IMG_3956The gray and misty bay

Let a smirk be your umbrella.

Let a smirk be your umbrella.

Trying to embrace the beauty of a PNW winter, but mostly just drinking more

Scenes from our soggy week, with unmitigated gratitude for in-laws who share wine.

Our campsite overlooks Padilla Bay, with a view of several of the San Juan islands. Every 25 hours, it turns into something like 8,000 acres of mud flats. I literally can't even.

Our campsite overlooks Padilla Bay, with a view of several of the San Juan islands. Every 25 hours, the tide goes out, and the bay turns into something like 8,000 acres of mud flats. Mud. Flats
I literally can’t even. Also, nobody would buy shoes called mud flats.

Regardless, I stepped into my big girl boots (Not my cowgirl boots. OMG, not for this), and took a walk down to the shore when the tide was in. This is a typical Washington beaches in winter. Want to know what it looks like in summer? Keep staring.

Regardless, I stepped into my big girl boots (Not my cowgirl boots. OMG, no. Not for this. For this I’ve got an old pair of snow boots.), and took a walk down to the shore when the tide was in.
This is a typical Washington beach in winter. Want to know what it looks like in summer?
Keep staring.

I kept staring. And as if to slap me with a big old neener-neener lesson on life, Mama Nature rewarded me with this bit o' magic. Sorry, Puget Sound. I get it now. Again. Temporarily.

I kept staring.
And as if to slap me with a big old neener-neener lesson on life, Mama Nature rewarded me with this bit o’ magic.
Sorry, Puget Sound. I get it now. Again. But probably only temporarily, I’m thinking.

Later that day, look what else I found!

Later that day, look what else I found!

But the sunshine shut down 15 minutes later, and once again I was back to, "Seriously, why did I even bring these?"

But the sunshine shut down 15 minutes later, and once again I was back to, “Seriously, why did I even bring these?”

That's fine. We get it. If I had to clean a public restroom, I wouldn't allow pets in there either. But...

Meanwhile, back at the park: a common sign to which I have no objections.  If I had to clean a public restroom, I wouldn’t allow pets in there either. But…

... look what's conveniently located outside! Now *that's* dog friendly. I wish more public places would offer hitching posts for pets. Thanks, Bay View!

… lookit what’s conveniently located outside! Now that’s dog-friendly.
I wish more public places would offer hitching posts for pets. Thanks, Bay View!

We have no Christmas tree inside. Plenty outside, though! And thanks to Tim's mom, we've got a string of lights there across the front of the house. All is calm. All is... OK, mostly it's *gray*, but the twinkles help. A little.

We have no Christmas tree inside. Plenty outside, though! And thanks to Tim’s mom, we’ve got a string of lights there across the front of the house.
All is calm. All is… OK, mostly it’s gray, but the twinkles help. A little.