Archived copy from:

http://web.archive.org/web/20021009062950/www.themarxes.us/tominthemountains.html



Here are some pictures I took when Mike and I hiked the northern Olympic National Park coast from Lake Ozette...   Our original intention was to hike up to Cloudy Peak in the eastern Olympics to spend a couple days ridge walking.  Much to our disappointment, we ran into a fairly fresh slide on the road about 2 miles from the Dungeness trailhead.  Since we'd have to park another couple miles back, we decided to bail, and get out of the snow altogether.  So we went up to the Hurricane Ridge visitor center, checked out availability on the coast, and registered for one night at Shi-Shi, and the other at Father And Son...  After renting the required bear can (we didn't see anything, they must have been still hibernating), we made the additional 2 hour drive out to Ozette.

The trail starts at the Ozette ranger station on the north shore of Lake Ozette, about 3 miles from the coast.  Called the Boardwalk, it is literally 3 miles of boards placed edge to edge, much of it elevated, in order to preserve the delicate coastal ecosystem.  It travels through two coastal prairies, and under some thick canopy before dropping down to the expansive ocean beach.  A 9 mile triangle allows hikers to travel out on one boardwalk, walk the beach to the south, and then come back on another.  Our interests lay north however, across the Ozette river.  Click this link to view a profile of the trail on a topographic map.  Click on the thumbnails in order to view the pictures full size. 
Prelude... - So what is a snow scene doing associated with a coastal hike you ask?  We wanted to do some climbing in the Olympics, but this slide prevented us from getting in.  So before moving on to Plan B, I took this shot of Mike in a moment of disappointment.  This was around 7:30 am...

Slide on road to Dungeness Trail...
Plan B... Turned back by the slide, we went to the ranger station at the Hurricane Ridge entrance to the park.  Talking over some alternatives, we decided to do the coastal hike.  So prepared with a tide table we drive out to Lake Ozette.  The high tide was at around 9:30, we hit the trail at about 11:45, and get down to the beach at around 12:30.  Once on the beach, I took this shot of Mike entertaining himself by swinging on a rope on a tree.

Mike swinging on a rope at the coast...
Fording the Ozette... - We get to the mouth of the Ozette at around 1:30, about 3 hours before the peak low tide.  We figure the route across was okay, so we decided to ford then in order to make Shi-Shi before it got to dark. 

Safely across, Mike took these really cool shots of me as I made my way over:
 Tom fording the river - 1...
 Tom fording the river - 2...
 Tom fording the river - 3...
 Tom fording the river - 4...
 Tom fording the river - 5...


Once I made it over, Mike tells me that the level and current are too high, and that he thought we should bail!  Oh well - I asked him "Do you want to go back?"  Anyway, I wore my hiking boots with no socks...  They filled up with small rocks that were agony by the time I got across, but still better than going barefoot!


Mike fording the Ozette River...

 
Eagle Beach... - The next stretch of beach is long and lonely, as evidenced by the constant watch by nesting pairs of Bald Eagles.  They were very tolerant of us as we strolled by.  I took this shot of an adult pair with a large juvenile hanging out.

On the way out, we saw two more.   The first was of an adult , while the second was a juvenile.


Eagles purched in a tree...
Scrambling... - Along this beach, we did come across some nice rocks on which to scramble on.  Mike took this shot of me...  I reciprocated by taking this cool shot of Mike...

Tom scrambling on a headwall...
Father And Son at dusk... - Following the slog past the Ozette, we came to the first headwall near Father And Son.  A series of fixed ropes are placed to assist hikers up the very steep trails.  Once up on the headwall, about another mile puts you at the Father And Son lookout.  We get there about 10 minutes before the sun touches the horizon in a nice sunset. 

Sunset from Father And Son...
Camping in style... - Finally, around 7:00 pm, we made our way through the Point of Arches, and on to the beach at Shi-Shi.  Mike, having been here before 7 or 8 years ago, looks for a site with amenities.  A few hundred yards down the beach, we find our place and set up.  A warm dinner, and then hour or two of Pitch concludes a nice day of hiking.  We wake up in the morning to a frozen beach, but to pancakes and spectacular scenery.  Mike took this shot of me as I manage the stove... 

Tom cooking breakfast at Shi-Shi...
Trekking on Shi-Shi... - Following the warm breakfast, we button up our camp, and head out to explore the north end of the beach and beyond.  Along the way is heavy surf, numerous views of the rock formations, and the endless pound of the surf.  We both shot tons of film:
 I shot this of Mike as he walks up the beach towards a point on which I was standing...
 Mike took this shot of me as I reflect on scene at hand...
 Looking back to the south, I took this shot of an small island and surf backlit by the sun...
 Everywhere there are rocks where the surf is continuously pounding... , and still pounding more...
 I took this shot of the sea version of Mt. Cruiser , and its little brother...
When we got back to camp, we decided to hike back to the Ozette river after sunset, instead of Father And Son.  The next low tide was going to be at 5:30 in the morning, and it wasn't going to be very low, only a +2.5.  We wanted to be in a position to cross safely, and leave a comfortable margin to get home that day.  So we packed up and broke camp after an early dinner.  We'd explore the arches during the current low tide, and then take off afterwards.


Surf at Shi-Shi...

Mike climbing out for a picture...
Rock gazing... - Part of the fun in exploring the shoreline is trying to figure out what the various rock formations look like.  It's sort of like cloud gazing...  For instance, the rock in the thumbnail to the right looks like an elephant's head and trunk to me.  But move around the rock a bit, and it looks like a pterodactyl ! And then while we were up at the very north end of Shi-Shi, we saw these rocks that looked like a snail, and a cougar on a ridge .  And while exploring the arches, Mike found this dinosaur's leg on which to scramble...  But the kicker was this picture that Mike took of me - it had to be a time portal from an old Star Trek show !

An elephant's trunk at Point Of Arches...
Exploring Point Of Arches... - After our early dinner, we headed out to explore the Point Of Arches during the -0.5 low tide.  The arches, coves and caverns were accessible all the way out to the end!  I took this shot on the right of a cove which was backlit with some very calming yellow light.  The thousands of tidal pools were dominated by orange and purple starfish and green anemones .  The pools were so teaming with life, it resembled a pulsating orgy.   We poked around many of the crannies, including this hole in the wall Mike asked me to tape .  Given enough time, these coves would make some interesting scrambling. 

Picturesque cove at Point Of Arches...
Point of Arches at dusk... - As we concluded our exploration of the arches and coves, we focused on the impending sunset.  The weather was shaping up to provide some good views initially, but a bank of clouds was moving in to spoil the horizon shots.  But still, I was able to take these great silhouette shots against the backlit clouds .  Following these shots, we figured the show was over, so we headed back to pick up our packs, and take off.  But when I headed down the beach, I managed to capture this great shot showing some pink !  I hollered to Mike so he could get it also, but by the time he got out his camera, it was gone! 

The hike back to the Ozette under headlamp was a long one.  The tide was always moving in, stealing the prime areas of the beach in which to hike.  Many times we were forced on to the rocky portions which made for slow going.  Route finding on the head walls was tricky, as the trails aren't well traveled.  None the less, we got to the river at about 10:30, set up the tent and immediately dove in with the alarm set for 5:00 am.  The roar of the river pretty much drowned out the surf, made sleeping somewhat elusive...


Sunset at Point Of Arches...

Sunset at Point Of Arches...

Sunset at Point Of Arches...
Moonset at dawn... - The next morning, we reluctantly headed over to the river, and didn't like what we saw.  At Mike's suggestion, we decided to simu-cross it with one person leading, and the other walking directly behind, matching the leader's steps, and keeping constant pressure down on him to aid in his footing.  While the water made it up to our wastes, we managed to cross without problems, except for our nerves!  Once across, I glanced over and saw the full moon as it was ready to set, and snapped this shot.  The scene was immediately calming, and very unforgettable!  And then, I tried to look back at the river we just crossed.

Moonset near the Ozette River at dawn...
On the boardwalk... - With the early river crossing, we made it back to the boardwalk by around 8:00 am.  Only three miles to go, and by ditching breakfast, we were getting hungry.  Instead of stopping, I insisted we stop for pancakes once on the road.  That kept us going, but not before we able to take the following photos of this unique trail...  which opened up into one of the prairies.  Back at the car by a little after nine, we packed up and headed out for some real pancakes and coffee...

 


Back to Tom in the mountains...




Home - Contact - What's Tom Up To

All content on this page is Copyrightę 2004, and can not be reproduced without the expressed permission of themarxes.us.