Trip report by Dan Fye
DAY 2. We are up and out of the tent at 7:15 AM, about 25 minutes after the morning high tide. The air is moist and dew laden, the day will soon have the sun shining. Cat rock has two cormorants and a seagull sharing the top. A critter has visited during the night, sampling a coffe bag left to drain. Soon the stove roars, steam rises, and cups of oatmeal eaten. Topped off breakfast with a hard boiled egg, hot chocolate, and cup of coffee. Breaking camp and packing was slow and we not ready to hike until 9:30. [We are either loosing our touch, becoming more fussy, old age, or all three.]
Photo: Hiking the beach near Never Round Point.
The sun has dried the air, temperature is about 58 degrees, we start around Cape Johnson. The route is over small then medium size boulders, by 10:15 we have passed the second small point and can no longer see the shore or islands to the south. The route ahead is over a broad undulated shelf. We carefully avoid boot dipping ponds and rounded the point to where the a cove filled with logs is visable. Reaching the logs will end Cape Johnson. I see something bobbing in the water about a hundred yards off the point. Out with the binoculars, a magnifided inspection revealed 5 sea otters floating on their backs feeding. Occassionally one would dive, returning soon to the surface with a new morsel. We were facinated. Moving along, we soon reached the bowling ball rockpile between the Cape and the logs, with a sand beach ahead. With much slipping and sliding [and cursing] trying to stick vibram soles to round rocks, we crossed the rockpile. [On our right, south, there is a vertical rock cliff band, a green line of sea grass shows where the high tide line reaches. The line is about neck high, below the rock is scrubed clean from high water.] We reach the sand beach and find a cosy log for a snack break, the time is 10:55. Cape Johnson is behind, and ahead looms another rocky point. Pressing on, we are soon througth the rock pile, being able to avoid the worst rocks, the tide being out. Ahead is a mile long sand beach to the next obstacle, the danger, never round point. The slight breeze generally from the north is picking up, and clouds are forming. Walking the beach is a pleasure, we observe many land slides and downed trees, these were probably caused by heavy rains in 1997. Halfway down the beach is a small stream with a lovely waterfall from the bluffs above. We reach never round at 1:00 PM and stop for lunch.
The trail over never round has an elevation gain of about 40 feet to the saddle, the south side is very erroded with most of the steps broken away. Dan led trying to use boot placements that existed, but kicking new ones whenever none existed. I followed in the same path. The saddle has an airy view, the steps down were in place most of the way, but ended with a ten foot vertical drop. A couple of don't fall steps brought us to where a sidehill gouge leads to the sandy beach. The time is 1:50 PM, the trail took 15 minutes to progress about 150 feet up the beach. Low tide will be at 2:04. Moving north on easy beach we quickly reach the next stream and wade across the shallow bottom. A trail sign shows the way to cross the next point, we will go around. [A shack still exists on top. This was a WW II early warning station, watching for the Japanese invasion.] The trail seen from the other side is a single rope hanging from the top nearly in the middle of what were sand ladder steps. I am glad we were able to walk around, a decent on an earlier trip on a good sand ladder was scary. Dan wonders about the rope condition, and is gratefull we did not need to arm rapell down.
Photo: Deer grazing near the shelter at Cedar Creek.
We easily walk the open beach, passing the Starbuch Mine site and arrive at Cedar Creek. The creek is strong and we cross at the mini delta formed at the shore by jumping from sand mound to sand mound. We arrived at the shelter at 3:30 PM. Cedar Creek is our usual campsite, but today we will move on, rounding the short point to camp at Norweigan Creek (this avoids the trail climb tommorrow). Dan has to inspect the shelter, finding it clean, and stopping to admire deer feeding on the grasses. [The beach south of Cedar Creek has a barrier berm of small to medium round rocks between the sand and the land. A jumble of logs tops the berm. This material all deposited by the ocean waves. The forest inland had been logged of Sitka Spruce in the early 1900s. Spruce was the ideal material for making WW I airplane framework. Rusting remains of logging equipment including a "donky engine" can be found by searching.] Going around the Cedar Creek point is easy, the tide is far out. The trees between the point and Norwegian Creek are tall and spar straight, with a thick hedge of Salal at the beach edge. They are an eerie sight on a foggy morning.
A quick walk brings us to the Norweigan Creek camps at 4:20, choosing our site just north of the Creek. The wind has shifted to the west, blowing a brisk breeze, thick black clouds are gathering on the western horizon. A rain parka and gloves tame the cold. Little time is wasted in making camp, soon the stove is boiling our dinner of Lipton Noodles and Sauce, with dried beef for body. With the camp secure, food hung, and packs covered, we are ready for the coming rains. It's time to explore. About a two hundred feet north is the toilet trail, the sign is fallen, we prop it in place. A short walk brings us to the toilet. The scene was devistation, the barrier screen broken to pieces, the toilet lid torn from it's moorings (with jiggleing and holding, it was still usable). After much speculation, we decided only a person would cause this wanton damage. Returning to the beach, we saw an arrow scraped into the sand with a message at the bottom. "Poop Here". And less than 200 feet from the toilet. Further investigation was rejected.
Photo: Dinner is prepared on a drift plank bench, the typical furnishing of beach campsites.
The rain begins to fall, lightly at first, then heavier. We went into the tent at 7:30 and to bed. The songs of the rain on the tent fly with the surf chorus quickly lulled us to sleep. Dan ventured out at 5:00 AM, hurring back inside to report a cold, very fine blowning mist was still falling. It's back to sleep.
Day 1: Rialto Beach to Chilean Memorial
Day 3: Norwegian Creek to Sandpoint Camp
Day 4: Sand Point to Cape Alava
Day 5: Cape Alava to Ozette Lake
Getting there: This trip begins at Rialto Beach, near Forks, WA.