Carved Animals by Sandra Healy

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Olympic National Park January 22, 2013

Hello all,

I'm on another little trip! After a 9 mile hike with Lauren in Prairie Creek State Park, I continued north, camping along route 199, and the next day arriving at Susan and Jody's place near Portland. There I met Millie, Susan's oh so cute miniature schnauzer puppy. We did some walks and I bought a new SPOT satellite  messenger "Spot Connect". Then on to Karen and Gary east of Bellingham, WA. Likewise, some walks and also some trail clearing which I really enjoyed. 

Saturday I drove (including a ferry ride) to Olympic National Park, and camped at Lake Ozette. I talked to the ranger, wanting to find out the tide schedule, which he told me along with the news that the boardwalk is treacherously icy so yesterday a man fell and broke 4 ribs and had to be carried out which was difficult as the stretcher wheel kept slipping on the ice. He advised me to use creepers on my boots and use trekking poles, neither of which I have. 

It was 28 this morning but before getting out of bed I turned the furnace on so it was toasty. This campground is half flooded, and it's about a quarter mile to the outhouse. The nearer nicer bathroom is closed for the season. On the other hand, camping is free. 

I set off on the trail to Cape Alava, much of which was through forest, but sometimes it went through prairie areas. Yes indeed it was icy in spots, and when possible I walked next to it. 

Frost on the boardwalk

First view of the ocean & Ozette Island. When I reached the ocean, first I went a bit north seeing herons on the rocks and also bald eagles and ducks. There were quite a few people camping, after all it's a 3 day weekend plus gorgeous weather, plus the tide is perfect for traveling the coast with low tide at midday. A young man was backpacking south about my speed so we were more or less together for awhile, but I found it very creepy and my opinion of him plummeted when I noticed he had a gun in a chest holster. I lagged so he got ahead.

Sperm Whale calf washed ashore, but didn't smell too bad as long as you stayed upwind. 

Cougar tracks were going in both directions along the entire 3 miles of beach I walked. People seen included some walking along listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Also a nice group of 3 men and a boy backpacking along looking at everything. The boy was trying to take home a big red and white fishing float that seemed bigger than him. Other tracks seen included a coyote, raccoon, birds, some kind of rodent, maybe a bunny and possibly a fisher or some kind of mustelid.

Sea stacks

Driftwood was in a wide band along the top of the beach. It probably rolls around when the tide is high.

Raccoon tracks

There was always a light fog, so visibility wasn't very far. But when I looked back north there often was a fog bow. 

Tide pool

After 3 miles of beach, at Sand Point I came to the other trail back to Ozette Lake. Reportedly it was more treacherous even than the Alava trail, and so it proved. The boardwalk is shining with ice in this photo. The bad stuff wasn't continuous, but I had to stay alert for the 3 miles back. Again sometimes I walked next to the boardwalk and when on the ice was very careful.

Clear areas out from under the trees were the most likely to be slick, and the plants were beautifully frosty. 

Back "home" at Lake Ozette at sunset. Actually I got back well before sunset, it was even warm enough in the sun to sit outside and read. The loop hike was 9.3 miles.

Happy trails!

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