Olympic National Park Day 3: Toleak Point to Third Beach

IMG_4192

We slept in a bit and awoke to a marine layer. I lit the fire, made some coffee and took out the map to plot our hike out to the rendezvous point where Tawny would pick us up between 2-3 pm.

Shit! The map showed four headlands between Toleak Point and Third Beach that must be passed at low tide. Not only that, I hadn’t calculated the distance we needed to travel, estimated at about 6 miles. It would be our longest hike and it was getting late. I consulted the tide table. Double shit! High tide was at 12:31 pm. It was already 9 am. “Clara, wake up!”.

We quickly packed up our site and started run-hiking with our packs (lighter, but still heavy) towards Strawberry Point (pictured above). We didn’t have time to enjoy the view as you literally could see the sea rising across the sands and rocks. We were in a race against tide and time.

We hustled on to the first headland, Giants Graveyard.

IMG_4197

As we round the headland we paused to take in the headstones laid across Davy Jones’s LockerAnd then we saw…no…we smelled the carcass of a gray whale long since beached on the shore. How apropos, given our location at the Giants Graveyard.

IMG_4204IMG_4207IMG_4219IMG_4222

Unfortunately, we didn’t have more than a few minutes to explore the remains. The smell and the rising waters propelled us on to round the next nearby headland. We had to time and dash past the waves around some fallen trees wetting our toes. We needed to get to another close by headland and then on to Scotts Bluff

We could see our next headland through the fog. A daunting sheer cliff known as Scott’s Bluff. If you make it to Scotts Bluff at low tide you can walk the tideline past it in about 10-15 minutes. If you don’t (and we didn’t) then you have to hike inland up and over several hundred feet of Scotts Bluff with loaded packs – a detour of 35-40 minutes a steep and precarious descent at to return to the beach.

IMG_4223IMG_4225

We kept moving as quickly as we could. There was one more headland ahead impassable at any tide – Taylor Point. We’d have to take an overland trail about 2.5 and climb to just over 300 feet. But before that inland trail was one large rock that could only be passed at low tide. We didn’t make it in time.

We thought we’d be stuck there for around six hours waiting for the tide to go do. No cell reception. No way to contact Tawny and let her know we’d be late. Then we saw a rope hanging off the rocks. It didn’t look like an official trail, but we thought we’d check it out and see if we could get over this huge rock and get to the trailhead.

Luck! We were able to ascend the rock and scramble down the back side with the help of another well-placed rope.

IMG_4228IMG_4232IMG_4238IMG_4241

The Taylor Point trail seemed to never end. We relaxed our pace and took a long break. We were exhausted from the brisk hiking but had no more tides to worry about now. We were home free. Only about four miles to go.

The trail was largely uneventful but beautiful through cool and earthy smelling old growth coastal forest. It held some daunting ladders to descend, but the prospect of a warm shower nudged us along.

IMG_4244IMG_4247IMG_4248

At the end of the trail, we hit the south end of Third Beach. It would be a sandy hike to the next trailhead. I turned on my phone. Success. A signal. I called Tawny and found she was still en route with a 2:30 pm ETA. It was about one-o-clock. We’d made it and would have plenty of time to rest and hike the last 2 miles.

IMG_4250IMG_4252IMG_4254

We rested at the Third Beach trailhead for thirty minutes or so. Ate some snacks and drank our water to lighten our packs. The marine layer started to lift and the sun came out to warm the beach. Day hikers were arriving for picnics on the beach. We donned our backpacks one last time before finishing the last 1.2 miles hiking through the woods to the parking lot off La Push Road.

Tawny and her friend Diane picked us up right at 2:30 and we drove to a nearby National Park Ranger station to drop off the bear box we borrowed before heading back to Seattle. We drove 101 North past Lake Crescent and on to Port Angeles to treat ourselves to a Blizzard and fries at Dairy Queen. We had earned the calories.

We drove on past Hood Canal and into Poulsbo where we stopped at Sound Brewery for pizza before catching the Bainbridge Island ferry at sunset back to Seattle.

IMG_4261

 

Categories: Camping, Seattle, Washington | 4 Comments

Olympic National Park Day 2: Mosquito Creek to Toleak Point

Day two I awoke to atrophied pain across my whole body. I creaked myself out of the tent and set a fire to warm myself in the 6 am daze of a foggy coastal morn.

We packed up our site by 10 am. Today would be an easier hike than yesterday and my tired muscles and bones welcomed the prospects of a walk on the beach. We needed to make Toleak Point today, a distance of only about 4.5 miles, mostly on the beach. We did have some inland hiking but only with an elevation gain of a few hundred feet. Today tides wouldn’t be an issue. It seemed promising.

We hiked about 2 miles along a beautiful stretch of sunny beach which we had all to ourselves. But eventually, the beach ended at another impasse and we had to ascend into the wilderness to circumvent the inaccessible headlands of the Coast.

IMG_4020IMG_4022IMG_4023IMG_4026

We had to climb some ropes up and down the rugged terrain. We also had some trouble hiking across Goodman Creek (which you have to cross 2x). It was confusing and we lost the trail for awhile before we eventually picked up the scent again. Doing so rewarded us with beautiful views and vistas of the Washington Coast.

IMG_4035IMG_4039IMG_4044

Eventually, we found ourselves in sight of a great expanse of beach below us with Toleak Point on the horizon.

IMG_4045IMG_4050

We descended to sea level and made the mile or so long hike along the beach to find a camp site near Jackson Creek (a sorry excuse for a water source that made me glad we had both a water purifier and an ample supply of iodine).

IMG_4054IMG_4077IMG_4116

We set up camp and hammock in an envious spot which we quickly made a home. After settling in we relaxed in the sun and sand of a lazy afternoon.

There was a low tide that day and I made my way out to Toleak Point to explore the tide pools for sea creatures and seaweed that reminded me of times along the Pacific Coast with my mother as she collected samples of the sea for her Master Degree in Marine Biology some 37 years earlier. A pleasant memory complete with the salty smells of ocean decay.

After ample exploration, we cooked a proper meal and headed back to Toleak Point in time to enjoy a spectacular Pacific Sunset.

IMG_4137IMG_4144IMG_4130IMG_4167

Back at our site, I built a warming fire and we waited for a symphony of stars to present themselves to us, one note at a time. We saw a few shooting arpeggios before turning ourselves in for the night to ready ourselves for a harder hike tomorrow. All-in-all I slept well knowing it had been a near perfect day, the music of the stars still playing in my head.

IMG_4182

Categories: Camping, Washington | 2 Comments

Olympic National Park: Oil City to Mosquito Creek

My daughter, Clara, went on an eighth-grade backpacking trip with her middle school (Explorer West) a few years ago from Oil City, Washington to Third Beach, near La Push. It was a transformative coming of age accomplishment for her; profound enough she wanted for years to share the experience with me.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.05.11 PM

This year we finally found the time to make the trip together.

After a weekend trip to REI to procure the latest in comfort camping gear we headed to our cabin in Ocean Shores for the night to pack and provision ourselves for the 2-night/3-day 15-mile trek.

Friday morning we drove to the Olympic National Park Ranger Station at Lake Quinault to secure our backcountry wilderness permit and borrow a bear barrel to store our food out of harm’s way (a requirement for the permit) before driving North along to the coast towards Forks, WA (of Twilight fame).

Ten miles down dusty gravel Oil City Road we came to the end – little more than a wooded parking lot with a placard marking the trailhead.

We donned our overweighted backpacks, said our goodbyes to Tawny and her friend Diane and headed down the trail together.

20881932_10154674289647477_9200263049443671099_n20842292_10154674289617477_827717510583821739_nIMG_3874

The trail started deceptively easily, perhaps a flat mile along the scenic Hoh River.

IMG_3876.jpg

But as soon as we spilled onto the Pacific Ocean it was not only an angry rising tide that greeted us but a brutal half mile or more of obtuse flotsam blocking our path.

IMG_3881

The Ranger at Quinault had warned us to beat the tide around Diamond Rock Shoal. She said today’s tide at 4:19 pm would barely be low enough to round the point. If we missed the window we’d have to wait until the next low at 5:13 am Saturday morning! We hustled our way scrambling towards Diamond Rock.

The rocks around Diamond Rock Shoal required bouldering across large boulders slapped rhythmically by the ocean. The aggregate rock was jagged, the sharp edges softened only by a slippery layer of seaweed attached to each boulder like an ill-fitted toupée. I slipped and scraped the length of my left leg early in the traverse. Soon after we found ourselves at an impasse. The tide was too high to round the point and the inland land to steep to circumvent the tide. We decided to cross the rocks timed against the waves. I went first. I counted out the waves…”That’s the biggest wave, probably the seventh”. I had a chance to hop, skip, and dance my way around the shoal with 65 lbs of backpack upon me. I made it. I turned to watch Clara who was rightfully hesitant as she was skeptical. She paused. She counted. She timed it and then went for it. A foot wet. A skip. A hop. A jump. Dry land. We’d made it. We took a rest of salmon jerky, trail mix, and  water.

IMG_3904.jpg

The next stretch of coast was easy-peasy. A lovely walk along the beach of Jefferson Cove. But remember, my daughter had been on this hike before. She knew what was coming. We walked the beach North…to the end. A wall. “What now?”, I asked. Smugly Clara pointed to the cliff wall…”Up”, she said. Before us hung a distressed rope and wooden ladder in horrible disrepair… and it started to rain…

IMG_3907IMG_3909IMG_3912

Feeling a sense of accomplishment upon ascending this ladder I looked down at the beach and across the ocean. “Ha!, I got you!”. No problem I thought. We hiked on and within a few feet of rounding a traverse, there was another ladder. And after that yet another! Would it never end?

IMG_3915IMG_3917IMG_3916

At 400 feet or more above the sea we reached the top of the trail, we would follow through the wilderness for the next 3 miles. It seemed doable, but within minutes we were confronted with this obstacle:

IMG_3918

Trying to minimize the mud on day one I tried jumping from a rock to a log only to cut and bruise my head by cracked my skull on a sharp branch. But we carried on and while the trek continued treacherous at times, it wasn’t without its fauna and vistas to make it worthwhile.

IMG_3922IMG_3923IMG_3926IMG_3931

Sweaty, spent, and exhausted we finally found ourselves at Mosquito Creek where we quickly found a place to put our tent within a driftwood clearing out of the wind. I reached into my overburdened pack and presented my daughter with an A&W Root Beer (and myself with a Fremont Interurban IPA) which I had snuck into my provisions. It was a well-deserved treat for a hard won campsite on the rugged Washington Coast.

We set up camp and made dinner (black beans and rice with fresh guacamole burritos). Divine.

As we built a fire to offset the wind and the chill of rain soaked shoes and clothes, the skies cleared long enough for a spectacular sunset. It was a Day-of-Hell and a Hell-of-a-Day. We were both so sore and tired from our grueling hike and yet satisfied we had made the first leg of our trip. At this point, we were committed. There was no turning back. In 2 days Tawny would be at the Third Beach parking lot between 2-3 pm to pick us up. We had to continue on. We took a few Vitamin A (Advil), watched the sunset, and went to bed.

IMG_3955IMG_3965IMG_3951IMG_3939IMG_3962IMG_3963

IMG_3976

Categories: Camping, Washington | 2 Comments

Alternative Facts?

img_8931

Donald spent his first day as President worried about the size of his “hands” inaugural attendance. It was unbelievable. Having been in DC since Tuesday of Inaugural Week we saw first hand the low turn out of Trump supporters across the city. We were staying at the Marriott Marquis (attached to the convention center where the simpleton named “Liberty” and “Freedom” balls were held on Inauguration night). We ate at empty local restaurants and coffee shops, walked and commented on the deserted streets, strolled the ghostly Mall and its zombie apocalyptic atmosphere, and visited several sparsely attended museums. Throughout it all, the presence and enthusiasm of Trump supporters were dour and tepid. Even on the night of Trump’s big balls the 01%s in attendance (99% white attendees) swathed in furs and gowns had little enthusiasm amongst them. It was like the moment of trepedation at the prom in the movie Carrie (before Carrie had the bucket of pig blood poured upon her) everybody in attendence seemingly knew what they were doing was wrong but they were going through the motions regardless of the consequences.

We were with hordes of humanithy (estimates from 600k – 1m) marching in DC who were loving, enthusiastic, and united. It was a great day only made better by meeting some friends we haven’t seen for years at another José Andrés restaurant – Zaytinya. We had a great dinner (the restaurant was packed! The waiter telling us it had been near empty all week but today had been a madhouse). Then we stayed up late with our friends drinking in our room and watching Saturday Night Live. Brilliant! In particular, the segment on Kellyanne Conway was amazing. It was shocking to see her on Meet the Press the next morning telling Chuck Todd that Sean Spicer’s first official announcement as White House Press Secretary was presenting “Alternative Facts”. You may know these by their more common name: Lies. Defending Sean Spicer blatant lying to the whole world about the size of Trump’s “hands” inaugural attendance, (puny when compared to the Women’s March) was just mind-numbing. Not to mention Trump’s visit to the CIA during the Women’s March to declare war on the media and complain about his size.

We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. But we quickly figured it out. We went to the Newseum. The Newseum focuses on the First Amendment (the part about a free press) as well as the history and role of a free press in our Democracy. Freedom of speech gives Trump the freedom to lie to us, but also gives us the responsibility and moral authority to call him out for it.

The first thing we saw while waiting in line to get in (and more on display inside) were the front pages of today’s newspapers from around the country and the world. Here is a sampling of about 50 of them:

The Newseum is a great museum. It was powerful and moving. The exhibit on 9/11 moved me to tears several times (they have boxes of tissues strategically stationed around the display). I was so choked up and had to step away from the exhibit several times for fear I would absolutely sob and bawl out loud.

Another exhibit examples freedom of the press across the globe and the risks that journalists and photographers go through to bring us the truth. Many putting themselves in harm’s way or sacrificing themselves to document our story. Our Story. Our Truth. The Truth. Not “Alternative Facts”. I’d love to know where Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway deposited their souls for safe keeping before joining Trump’s team; if they had one to begin with.

There was another exhibit on the Berlin wall (with a watch tower and a section of the wall). You walked from the West Side to the East Side and experienced differences in the first (and other) amendments. It was bleak to realize how much some of the East Berlin sides sounded like Trump’s rhetoric.

I choked up again at the Pulitzer Prize winning photo exhibit (100 years old this year and 100 photos on display with commentary). I didn’t take photos of the award winning photos (using an iPhone to take the pictures just seemed inappropriate). But I did find this quote good.

img_8991

It was a great way to bring to an end a political trip of a lifetime. We joins hundreds of others (nearly the entire flight in pink hats) on our flight back to Seattle.

 

 

 

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | Leave a comment

Mother Fucking Girl Power! (Women’s March January 20, 2017)

Up early. Feeling better. Fired Up! Ready to Go!

We donned our gear and headed out early for the Women’s March on Washington.

The presence of Trump supporters between inauguration day and Women’s March day was the difference between night and day. You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a pink hat and we had a 30-minute walk from our hotel to the Mall. We headed down there as the crowds gathered. It was so crowded at 9 am we couldn’t get to the starting point of the march (which  was to start at 1:15 but didn’t start until well after 2 pm). We got to the corner of 4th and Jefferson and it was a wall of humanity. We stayed put.

We spent 5 hours standing in one spot waiting for the march to begin watching Madonna, Michael Moore, Alicia Keys, Gloria Steinem, Scarlett Johansson, America Ferrera, Angela Davis, Ashley Judd, etc….

And chanting:

  • Science is real!
  • We pay taxes, how about you?
  • We need a leader, not a lying tweeter!
  • Show me what Democracy looks like / This is what Democracy looks like
  • Women’s Rights are Human Rights
  • Love Trumps Hate
  • Thank you, Obama
  • Thank you, Michelle
  • Yes, we can!
  • No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA!
  • Fired Up! Ready to Go!
  • Not my President
  • We need a leader, not a racist tweeter!
  • Welcome to your first day, we will not go away!
  • Black Lives Matter. Hands up / Don’t shoot!

OMG! Lots of signs here. Enjoy them all!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About 2 pm people got tired of waiting for the speakers to finish (you couldn’t hear them well) so they just started marching into the Mall (the march was supposed to go only down Independence Ave, but it was so crowded Indepence was full from 3rd Ave to the Washington Monument. So people started marching down Jefferson, The Mall, Constitution Ave, and Pensylvania Ave. Estimates of numbers we hear we close to 1 Million or more people. It was amazing.

We got stuck at 7th between Madison and Constitution for a long time trying to get off the mall and march down Constitution towards the White House. It took a long time but we finally got through. We then found ourselves at Trump International Hotel where thousands of people had started dropping off their protest signs.

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | Leave a comment

Avoiding Catastrophy (Inauguration Day)

Today was a difficult day. Woke up sick. Went back to bed. Finally got up about 10:30 am to protests outside our hotel.

Our plan for the day? Avoid the inauguration and ignore it as much as possible. We decided to go to the International Spy Museum. We put on socks we felt were appropriate for the day and headed outside.

img_0101

We exited our hotel to a maze of chain link fences, snow trucks and busses blocking the streets, police in full riot gear, helicopters overhead, protesters in the street. We were in full on inauguration day in Trump’s America.

We worked our way down to the Spy Museum and went on a great interactive spy adventure before touring the museum while Trump was being inagurated. We spent a few hours there amoungst the memoribilia of the CIA and the KGB and 007 movies. During one of the films about the cold war it mentioned how the KGB always wanted to get somebody into the White House. Well…now they finally have. Well played Putin.

When we came out of the museum there was more chaos. Protesters in the street. Lots of security. Some Trump supporters were there but in general the Trumpers and Trumpets seemed outnumbered by police and protesters. We headed back to our hotel to catch some news and realized our hotel had all the fencing and protests around it because that is where all the white people with fur coats on were queuing up to get into the “Liberty” and “Freedom” balls. The fencing, police, and furs were nearly as thick as the irony of the ball’s namesake. Sigh…

 

 

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | Leave a comment

Awaiting Catastrophy

Thursday we headed to the National Museum of the American Indian by jumping in an Uber. “I’ve lived in DC my whole life, some 50 years, and I’ve never seen so much security and road closures.”. We had to make a long loop around DC to get from our hotel near the Mall and then still walk a considerable distance to the museum. There were so many fences and closed streets it was eerie. There was nobody around but the occasional lookee-loo getting their barrings for the upcoming event.

The museum is architecturally interesting and contains a comprehensive collection of Native histories. What stood out for me was the exhibit on universes and world perspectives from different tribes. It was fascinating to read their stories and histories and see the similarities and differences between them.

What probably stood out more, given the political climate and the recent protests at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline, was the exhibit on treaties and how the Federal Government has a history of breaking them. It saddened me to think of how these treaties would be respected under a Trump administration. Sigh…

We ate at the Mitsitam Cafe which had a great selection of native dishes. Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather from a stomach bug I had picked up. So I didn’t get to taste much. I’ll need to return.

Afterward, we headed over to the American Museum of Natural History to check out the exhibit on Evolution before the Trump administration has it removed and replaced with “Intelligent Design”. Sigh….

Our last act of civil defiance for the evening was dinner at José Andrés’s restaurant Jaleo. José Andrés is currently being sued by Trump because he pulled out of a new restaurant at Trump’s new hotel in DC. We wanted to support José and had an amazing meal there.

 

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | 1 Comment

USDA Cafeteria & Momofuku

While elements of our trip to DC have been somber, today we had a very good food day in DC.

We woke late today (jetlag), so missed breakfast. While sickened by the horrors of the Holocaust Museum we actually left hours after entering a little hungry (2 pm and no meal yet today). I looked at my Yelp app for the nearest restaurant and the USDA Cafeteria came up. 4.5 stars! We decided to check it out. We passed through security and hit the buffet. Everything was fresh and delicious! Highly recommend a quirky trip to the USDA cafeteria!

After our afternoon journey around DC (Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, White House) we took a short rest of our feet at our hotel. Then we headed to nearby Momofuku CCDC  and Milk Bar where we had booked reservations a month or so ago. Turns out it wasn’t necessary. So far, the restaurants in DC are largely empty. There doesn’t seem to be anybody here for Trump’s inauguration. Or perhaps it is also because David Chang (owner of Momofuku) is a well known Democrat. It didn’t disappoint and by the time we left the restaurant was packed. We were just early, but it was clear the patrons (all ethnically diverse) weren’t likely in the Trump camp.

 

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | 1 Comment

Reflections on History Repeating Itself

img_8405

Today we went to the Holocaust Museum. The parallels between the forces of history that brought Hitler and the Nazi’s to power, that led to the stigmatization and systematic execution of entire social groups, and the refusal to aid refugees in their time of need, with the circumstances this week in DC was sobering. I had a premonition of this when we visited the Anne Frank House and I blogged about it in the spring of 2016.

Watch this video of Hitler’s rise to power from the museum. Then read these descriptions of Hilter’s rise to power but exchange some of the words with modern characters and circumstances and then tell me it doesn’t scare the shit out of you.

img_8370

Substitute some words here for some modern characters…

img_8377

Does it sound like a certain sexist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, ableist, authoritarian demagogue you know?…

img_8380

Consider the Republican defunding of education over the decades. Keep your white working class just educated enough to cast a vote against their own best interests.

img_8378

Consider this in light of the Syrian refugee crisis…

The Holocaust museum made me cry. It made me profoundly sad and desperate. It nauseated me. It made me furious. And it inspired and empowered me to be vigilant. I encourage everybody to visit this museum and see the horrors and inhumanity of humanity first hand. The depravity therein is more disgusting than any twisted horror movie you can imagine.

We left the Holocaust museum shell-shocked, silent, and stoic and wandered towards the Washington Monument only to be quickly reminded of why we were there.

Unfortunately, the Washington Monument was still closed. But we walked around and admired it and made our way towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Given the recent passing of Tawny’s father (a Vietnam veteran), we felt the need to take a solemn pilgrimage to the monument. There was some catharsis.

We tried to walk by the White House (Obama had just given his last press conference) but the security was too tight and the impending parade route and barriers kept us beyond eyes length. I did see this one sticky note stuck on a nearby sign which seemed simple and fitting enough.

img_8440

It was a day a reflection and resolve which we’ll need to draw upon over the next few days as we endure the audacity of Trump supporters coming into town and flaunting their vitriol. Good grief.

img_8444

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | 1 Comment

From First Women President to Women’s March on Washington

We planned to take our daughter to see the inauguration of the first woman president of the United States – Hillary Clinton. The best-laid plans….didn’t work out quite as we expected. But we already had the airfare and the hotels booked. We thought about canceling our trip after Trump was elected, but thought we’d cancel it at the last minute. Then we heard about the Women’s March on Washington. Given our President Elect is a sexist and a misogynist (not to mention racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic, ableist, authoritarian demagogue), we thought it would be important to bring our daughter to this march.

We headed out on Tuesday (a day after Martin Luther King Jr Day) so we could spend a little time in some of the DC museums before the March on Saturday (the day after the inauguration).

While boarding our plane we saw a good omen for our trip – Senator Patty Murray was on our flight. The “mom in tennis shoes” who has risen to be one of the top-ranking senators in the nation and an important line of resistance against a Trump Administration.

Tawny and Clara went to talk with her during the flight. She was somber, as she was heading back to DC to attend the inauguration (by the time we landed as many of 50 Congressional Democrats were refusing to attend. She told them she was attending the inauguration and was to be sitting directly behind Trump so would get a lot of television time. As such, she planned to wear her Planned Parenthood scarf prominently. She signed Clara’s ticket to the Women’s March and said she’d see us there.

img_8359

We landed at National Airport and grabbed an Uber into the city. On the way to our hotel, we happened to pass Trump’s new and controversial hotel (in the old Post Office) which on inauguration day is going to put him in violation of his lease.

img_8360img_8361

We settled into our hotel and started walking around the city and to dinner. It was interesting to see the fencing going up, the golf carts coming in, and all the other preparations for Trump’s big day (which was already looking to be like the most lackluster inauguration in modern history).

img_8364img_8366

 

Categories: Inauguration, Washington DC, Women's March | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.