The final exploration for Day 1 of our Cape Flattery trip consisted of a brief visit to the Salt Creek Recreation Area off Hwy 12, west of Port Angeles in northwest Washington.
My previous and only visit here was with a friend back in June 2007 as part of a trip to Sol Duc Hot Springs. That visit is mentioned briefly in my trip report on nwhikers.net.
During that original trip we made a nice tour of the beach area, including the Tongue Point Marine Sanctuary... highly recommended if you visit this area... particularly at lower tides so you can also enjoy the tide pools.
This trip we were more interested in the remnants of Camp Hayden since we didn't take the time to check it out in 2007.
According to a Clallam County Parks website, Camp Hayden was used as a harbor defense military base during World War II. "The remnants of World War II Camp Hayden are preserved on the site - two concrete bunkers which housed 16" cannons and several smaller bunkers."
These remnants are easy to access, but they aren't visible from most places in the park. You'll find them at the top of the hill, above the campground areas. Follow the paved road to the left... or find one of the trails from the campground/beach area and head uphill... staying west of the Striped Peak Recreation Area.
You can drive the road directly to, and under, the bunkers. You'll find a parking area and informational signs. Park the car, get out, explore.
We did just that. Walked around and under the bunkers. Walked into pitch black rooms. Took flash photos with cell phones and cameras. Jumped up to snap pictures in windows that were too high for us to look in. Tried to open monstrous doors blocking access to unimaginable mysteries beyond. Checked out huge missile casings. All good stuff. Looked a lot like this:
While the sights were impressive, I was hoping to be surprised by locating other bunkers nearby. Maybe we would find some off a trail or somewhere other than the 'in your face' 'you can't miss it' bunkers on the top of the hill. Unfortunately, there weren't any others that we found (except the one right on the beach as you head to Tongue Point, but that doesn't count either).
Visit to Fort Ebey and Fort Casey on Whidbey Island both had some 'unexpected surprises'. Turn a corner and "Hey! Look! A bunker we didn't expect!" As noted... we didn't find any such surprises at Salt Creek.
Regardless, it's still a cool place to go visit and explore. Bring the kids... they'll LOVE it!
Link: Salt Creek Recreation Area Map.
Once we finished our exploration of the Salt Creek Recreation Area, we considered venturing out on a hike up Striped Peak (since the western trail head is located in the Salt Creek Rec area) but we opted to find a short cut back to Lake Crescent and then figure out our lodging and dinner plan instead.
This concludes (most) of Day 1 adventures.
Day 2 objectives include the Spruce Railroad Trail, the Elwha River (former) Dam site and to track down the Skokomish High Steel Bridge. Those stories will be coming soon.