Olympic Peninsula’s West Coast Beaches

Mileage today: 104 Total: 1128

Well… it had to happen….. Forks finally lived up to it’s reputation and we woke to dark, grey skies and light drizzle that persisted throughout the day. Talk about gloomy! No sign of shimmering people though….. although I did wake in the night and remember that there was an axe stuck in a wood pile just outside the back door….. what if….. as well as the Currans, …..the guy in the mask from Friday the 13th also lives here? These woods could hide anyone. After all Sasquatch is supposed to live around these parts…… Well, no matter what, I wouldn’t be unlocking the door and venturing outside in my night attire to investigate….. I’ve watched enough films to know where that leads!

So, having survived the night, what to do on such a depressing day. It wasn’t at all cold. About 20C, just drizzly. We decided a woodland walk through the Hoh Rain Forest was not the best idea – it would be muddy and every bug in creation would be waiting for us. We decided instead to visit some of the many beaches around us on the west coast of the peninsula.

We started with Rialto Beach which is just north of La Push and the Sol Duc River. It took us about 30 minutes to drive there. What a strange sight it was!!!!! A very long beach of dark grey sand with islets and stacks at the southern end and also at the far northern end too. Backed by forests and there must be gigantic storms and surge because literally all along the back of this very long beach is the biggest stack of dead trees – enormous some of them – drift wood, branches, trunks etc, you will have seen. Hundreds and hundreds of them. They have been contorted into weird shapes and made smooth by the seas and it really is an odd sight. Quite beautiful in a way. If you were a carver, you would have a field day here with some of the logs. If you walk all the way north apparently you come to a formation called Hole in the Wall which is well worth viewing. We didn’t go that far though. The beach is also covered in cobble stones. There’s a parking lot with rough toilets just behind the beach but you do have to clamber over some logs to get on it from there.

We then drove back across the river and out to La Push, a small Native American village on the coast. Quite a big fishing fleet in dock. The town beach here is imaginatively named First Beach. A better beach than Rialto in terms of sand, there is a golden stretch that some people were surfing on, although the surf looked low. The main attraction was just offshore and around the corner from the main part of the beach where there were some amazing sea stacks and islets. Very large sea caves could be seen in some of them. After a bit of a walk, we parked up facing the stacks and watched through our binos. We saw a couple of grey herons fly in and also out past Haystack Rock we could see puffins sitting on a low rock. Too far for my camera, you’ll have to take my word for it. Very picturesque place and some nice looking restaurants too and a smokery selling smoked salmons.

We intended next to park up near the next beach south – yes, you guessed it! Second Beach!!!! But the parking lot and the overflow carpark were totally full so we passed on that, which also ruled out Third Beach because that was full too. Second Beach sounded great too so that was a pity.

Coming back to Forks we toyed with the Forks Timber Museum. Apparently as well as a lot of interesting exhibits on the lumber industry locally, they also have Bella’s truck from Twilight and some of the other movie memorabilia. But….. we passed on that.

We drove through Forks, down past our place and the entrance to the Hoh Rainforest (tomorrow I hope) and out to the coast at Ruby Beach. Now, Ruby Beach is supposed to be the best beach in these parts but I knew it was closed until mid September as the local authorities are remodelling the access road and the car park. So we couldn’t see that. Instead we kept driving another couple of miles to the 6th Beach (yes! the imaginative naming continues!) overlook and we parked up there looking down over the cliff to the beach and out to sea. Now this beach looked much more as expected. Great rollers coming in to a long length of dark grey sand. Must be quite a walk from somewhere to get down there though. Certainly no way from the viewpoint, but we knew that. There are a couple more sea stacks here and about 3 miles offshore is Destruction Island! Now there’s an imaginative name! A long flat island with a disused light house on top. Several ships were wrecked on the island in the past, but the destruction more refers to two massacres of visiting sailers by the local tribes back in the 1800s.

We enjoyed our visit to the beaches. I cannot say any of them looked particularly inviting today as the venue for a swim, but that was probably down to the weather. Having said that, they were all great walking beaches with unusual topographical features to see both on the beach and in the water. I would have liked to have dived some of the sea stacks and small islets. I bet they would be cracking dives.

Back at the cabin, we settled in for the evening. Bob is cooking slow roasted pork ribs. We were going to bbq but frankly…… Keeping an eye out down on the river banks for some elk. They are supposed to be around. It really is a lovely cabin and surrounded by such green, green woods.. so lush… and of course, the river. It would be nice to have a dip in that.

Ah, someone asked me what a packing cube was like. You generally buy a set of differing sizes. They are mesh squared, zipped bags , maybe about 4-5 inches thick, that you use to organise your belongings in the case ie one for t shirts, 1 for dresses, 1 for underwear and socks, 1 for makeup, 1 for bathroom stuff, 1 for knickknacks, 1 for medicines. However you want to organise your packing. They pack squarely into a case, using every corner and all the volume. They generally have handles on them for carrying or for hanging. Just an absolute game changer for packing, particularly if you are touring and in a situation where you are packing and unpacking (like a road trip) or if you are in a space without a lot of storage eg a boat, a little cabin in the woods….. No more rummaging around trying to find your ear rings, or socks or whatever and messing the entire case up in the process….

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