Olympic National Park - Ozette Loop - Day 2
Breakfast is red beans and rice in tortillas with sausage and cheese. YUM!
We try to get most of the camp taken down and packed first thing after breakfast. One moment I am standing on a log to untie the tarp - the next I find myself slipping off. My butt hits the log and then slides off to land on a sharp pointy rock on the ground. What a brooze that is going to make!
We wait for the tide to go out this morning so we can head north along the beach to Cape Alava. Mark entertains himself by climbing to the top of a knoll that juts out from Sand Point. He last climbed it 20 years ago. He is amazed to find a little tree thriving, the same one that his childhood friends and he thought would surely not survive. I told him he ought to apologize to the tree. I take pictures of the coast line and of Mark up on his little summit.
We finish packing up and I head off to use the facilities. Arriving back at camp I find it overrun by a group of families with children. They are delighted to get our site. One kid is climbing a tree while the others pet a slug to see who can get more slimey. I love seeing such adventurous little girls!
Our beach walk is slow, I keep bending over to pick up pretty pieces of glass or to look out at the surf and the tidepools. We pass two women and a little toddler playing in the sand. The little boy waves to us. The women tell us of the 100 or so stairs up out of Cape Alava...they counted.
Mark notices otters playing in the tide pool a little further on. We can barely make them out, but it is obvious they are otters. We can see them rolling in the water and floating on their backs. I always love it when I come across my name sake. We are such kindred spirits...those otters and I.
I can guess where wedding rocks, with it's petroglyphs must be located. There is a crowd ahead, everyone staring at rocks and taking pictures. The first one we come to is of a whale with a baby whale inside it. Then there are more of orcas, faces, sailing ships, and many others. It must have taken a long time to carve them into the stone.
Not too much further and we find ourselves at Cape Alava. It doesn't seem that there are any open camping spaces. We are starting to wonder about how well the permit system works, when, thankfully, we are noticed by a couple who are heading out that day. They offer their site. We are relieved. Although, when they mention the nearby camp is a group of ten boyscouts, I head off down the beach with out my pack to look for any other possibilities. Along the way I pass a young buck with short velvety antlers. He's lounging on the beach, leaning against a sunbleached log. I curse at myself for taking off with out the camera.
I have no luck finding another open site, so give in to the fact that we will have ten boys in a camp next to us. I can only hope they are well behaved and polite.
It is sunny today and I am greatful for that. I lounge on the beach, munching on some lunch and slowly but surely get sunburned, remembering to put sun screen on too late.
Today my goal is to be lazy. And I fulfill it rather thoroughly. I build a rock garden and make pictures in the sand using little pebbles. I stare out at the ocean and the islands just beyond shore. There is one island, Ozette Island, that seems to pull at me. I feel a strong need to explore it. It is the largest of the islands. I can't tell for sure from where I sit, but it looks as if it would be reachable at a negative tide.
I give into a little more strolling. Mark and I make our way north. We stop to take pictures of the buck, who is now laying in the grass just off the beach.He vainly poses for the camera. We stop by a native american memorial. It is in a small shack and is filled with shells, rocks, and bones. Large whale bones are on the ground under the plaque. Someone had made a structure of a person whaling. It is made of small bones, rocks, and feathers. Beside the memorial, we startle a doe. She gets up out of the shade of a small spruce, but doesn't go far before starting to graze the lush grass. We can't explore the meadow because there is also an abundance of stinging nettles. Back on the beach, we head out to Tskawahyah Island. Also known as Cannonball Island, probably due to near perfectly round rocks that surround it. This is the most western point of the continental United States. It is only an Island at high tide. Mark recalls climbing this twenty years ago. We look up, but can't make out a visable way to do so. It is steep and covered with vegetation. Then we notice the sign. Posted : “No Tresspassing” by the Macah nation. This Island is a sacred place for the tribe. It is asked that people respect this and refrain from climbing it. I see this as good news for the eagles that are most likely nesting on it as well as the surefooted deer that come running down the near vertical hillside, having enjoyed the good forage. They stop in front of two young boys who have read the sign and obeyed it. The boys grin with big eyes as the deer make their way past them and on up the beach. We are pleased to see children obey the posted sign. The adult we speak with next, is annoyed by the sign...he thinks it would be an ideal campspot. I hope he does not go ahead with his plan. It would be sad to see an adult set such a bad example after such a refreshing response by the children.
Back at camp I sit in my thermarest chair and watch the world go by...burying my toes in the sand. There are herons fishing in the tidepools, their long, lean bodies reflected perfectly in the water. Numerous bald eagles soar just overhead, their cries cutting the air like highpitched laughter. A doe saunters past. She stop to look at me, nibbles an itch, flicks her tail and moves on.
Mark finally insists on dinner. More mac and cheese. But it is not long before I am back on the beach, tripod set up, waiting for a sunset. Mark joins me and we make up a mancala “board” in the sand, using rocks and shells. We play a couple games while I wonder if the sunset will happen before the tide makes me move. The sunset proves to be the most unique I have ever seen. There are no streeks of color in the sky, only a perfectly round firey red disk slowly lowering. It looks as if it is just sitting on top of a distant island. The same island that hosts the ever barking colony of sea lions. Even they are silent in those moments where the sun slides behind the rock and disapears.
Tonight we will have a fire. Tonight we will have stars. And tonight, I “have words” with a curious racoon. He tries to con me with his adorable masked face and bear like standing position. I will have nothing with it. My food is MY food. It finally decides I am not one to argue with in such matters and disapears into the grasses.
We stay up late tonight alternating our stare between the fire and the brilliant sky just bursting with stars.