Saturday, September 28, 2013

Lake Ozette- Part 2 Cape Alava to Sand Point

If you missed it, click here for Part 1, otherwise, read on.

Part 2

We arrived at Cape Alava in a fog bank, at low tide.

The ocean was near but we couldn't see it.  The beach was rocky - racing across the beach to splash in the surf like you see people do in commercials and in movies would not be an easy task here.  We were content with taking a snack break instead.

There was a rather large group of people gathered on the beach where our trail deposited us.  They were a group of college freshman out on an 'orientation bonding' type of adventure.  Unfortunately, I don't recall which college it was - one of the schools east of the Cascades.  They had started further north and were heading to some point further south of Sand Point.  We spent our beach journey leap-frogging them at various points.

Sea-stacks galore.  We could have walked to many of them with the low tide, but we didn't.  Mostly because we quickly realized the beach walk was going to be the slowest and most difficult part of this hike.

Trying to walk on the beach was a rather inefficient process.  Each step required careful placement to prevent a rolled ankle.  In addition, the usual momentum from each step was greatly reduced as the lack of solid ground caused repeated slipage as your toes dug in and down instead of remaining firmly planted as we are used to.

 We encountered a number of downed trees on the beach, such as this one.  Sometimes it was easier to go around it on the water side, other times it was easier to climb over it and other times it was easier to crawl underneath.
 Hiking Poles were helpful to keep your balance - even one pole was of great assistance.
 As mentioned in the previous post, many reviews of this trail suggest wearing regular tennis shoes instead of hiking boots - claiming that the tennis shoes provide better traction on the boardwalks.  While that may or may not be true, I was very glad that I had my hiking boots for the 3 miles of beach walking.  The solid construction, great tread and high uppers all performed really well in these conditions.  With tennis shoes it's certain that I'd have stopped repeatedly to empty out the sand/debris.

 The beach hike between Cape Alava and Sand Point takes you by the Makah "Wedding Rocks" where you can view some ancient petroglyphs, if you keep your eyes open.  Surprisingly they aren't flagged or signed.  I knew they were around but it was mostly luck that I stumbled upon them.

 We passed very close to a number of Sea Stacks near the high-tide mark, including one with a natural hole it it.

 Eventually Sand Point came into view.  We saw something on the top of it (before we knew it was Sand Point) and thought it was a tree but then realized they were actually people.  We eventually hiked up to the top of it, of course.

We weren't exactly sure where the trail back to Lake Ozette connected with the beach.  The map seems to indicate that you'll pick up the trail if you continue past Sand Point a short distance, but there was a large marker just north of Sand Point.  Before we explored either option we asked a few people who passed by.  Each of them gave a different answer.  Ultimately, for the sake of minimizing our mileage, we chose to try the northern point that had the large circle on a sign... and that proved to connect with the trail we wanted.

With that issue resolved, we went back down to the beach for some lunch and to watch the tide gradually come in.  Finally we could see the ocean and the breaking surf (although the 'breaking' part of the surf was quite a ways out from where we were).

Again, here is the route we took.  Since we were going counter clockwise, our beach walk proceeded from the north to the south.  Note that Wedding Rocks is labeled on the map.  Don't forget to look for it in real life because there isn't a sign to remind you.

I've heard that south of Sand Point the beach turns from gravel to real legitimate sand for a mile or more.  Unfortunately, we were too preoccupied with mileage and finding the trail to do any exploring down that area.  Have to save that adventure for the next visit.

Click here for Part 1.
Part 3 coming soon!

Happy Hiking!


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