In the 1980’s, Penny and I made a list of places we wanted to see together. The idea of a trip up the coast, “The Whale Trail”, came into our collective mind. We would go to Santa Cruz, Coos Bay, Astoria, Grays Harbor, Neah Bay, Port Renfrew, the (then) Queen Charlotte Islands and southeast Alaska. Time constraints, continuing education and money issues rained on that parade, and we did make it to Santa Cruz once or twice, but never beyond it. All these years later, with our son raised and now living his own life, my spirit-soul mate and I finally made it to Coos Bay, Astoria, the Grays Harbor/ Ocean Shores region and, Tuesday morning, to Neah Bay. I spent Monday night sleeping under the blessed stars at Lake Ozette’s Lost Resort. Once or twice, I awoke during the night, glanced up and saw two stars directly above me, looking like a pair of eyes. Just before dawn. I awoke for the day, looked up, and saw one star, appearing like a heart beaming down at my heart.
Upon getting myself together, I went up to the office and found Lost Resort’s owner, who was somewhat befuddled that anyone would be up and about at such an early hour. There were, actually, about six of us wandering about. He took my payment, excused himself and I also moved along, to photograph my surroundings. Below is Lake Ozette itself.
The owner left a message for all who came while he was gone to Forks.
So, on do we all go. I headed up the hill to Neah Bay. Along the way, there are views of the Straits of Juan de Fuca and of Vancouver Island.
I was glad to find, open for business, the Warmhouse, upon arriving in Neah Bay. The Makah people mean it, when they say “Welcome”. Of course, there is a $10 fee for using the trails, but it’s good for a year.
After biscuits and gravy, coffee and a bit of conversation with some of the Makah and a pair of motorcyclists from Idaho, I went on towards Cape Flattery, the northwestern-most point in the contiguous 48 states.
First, though, a stop was in order at Fort Nunez Gaona DIAH Veterans Park. This spot pays homage to the brief occupation of the area by the Spanish in the 1760’s (thus, the name Juan de Fuca being attached to the strait just north of here, as well as the San Juan Islands, at the north end of Puget Sound.). It also lists the names of every Neah Bay resident who has served in the nation’s military, living or dead. “Diah” is the original Makah spelling of Neah Bay. Below is a view of Neah Bay itself.
Those with several days to spend here may hike down past Hobuck Beach, to Shi-shi Beach and the old settlement of Ozette (U’cit, in Makah), which was the original home of the Makah people, west of the present-day lake of the same name. Neah Bay was the U. S. Government’s established reservation site for the Makah. Ozette gives me a reason to return, someday. Cape Flattery Trail is largely planked, making the area easily accessible to many who would otherwise have difficulty. It is a 3/4 mile journey, each way.
Above is the trailhead to Cape Flattery. Below, is the split between the north and south points of the cape.
Here are some of the sea caves which riddle Cape Flattery, and which may be the downfall of the cape above.
Just off the Cape, lies Tatoosh Island, a gull nesting site, which is also sacred to the Makah.
I spent about forty minutes at the Makah Cultural Museum. at the north end of town.
After bidding farewell to Neah Bay, I headed for the Straits Coast, towards Port Angeles. The first town one encounters on this route is Sekiu.
Along the way, there are views of the Olympic Range to the south.
Port Angeles is a major hub for the Straits Coast. Here, one may take a ferry to Victoria, BC.
Here, people come from all over the northwestern corner of Washington to meet their supply needs. Here, one may swim in the Strait. I visited Feiro Marine Life Center, and met the resident octopus, among other tenants.
East of Port Angeles lie Sequim, Jamestown, and Sequim Bay. The s’Kallam people are stewards of this area, much as the Quinault, Hoh, Makah and other peoples are along the west coast.
Lastly, the evening found me on the ferry from Bainbridge Island, on the west side of Puget Sound to Seattle.
So went another full day, on yet another block. 🙂
Neah Bay has certainly grown up since I was there a million years ago! It would be great to get back up there again one day.
I hope you have gone back there, as I review this post in the middle of 2014!