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.
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.
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.
Oh. Canada! (Those mountains across the water are on Vancouver Island.)
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.
This $10 permit is required for exploring tribal lands, including the trails we hiked today.
Seems a pittance, considering…
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!
Next several shots: scenes from our hike along the Cape Flattery Trail. It’s only 3/4 mile, but oh, where it took us!
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.
Top left corner of CONUS: check!
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 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.
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…
It didn’t go well.
Yeah. That was a deep one.
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.