Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cape Flattery. Can You Say Northwest?

Roger here...  On this day we drove 70+ miles along the extreme northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula to Cape Flattery.  

Most of the things we wanted to see were near the end of the drive; however, the drive itself was interesting and scenic.  The stacks of logs on the outskirts of Port Angeles reminded us that we continue to be in an active logging area.

The forested roadway frequently brought us glimpses of the rocky Washington coast.

It was sunny when we left Sequim, but it soon began to cloud up.  (BTW, it was also sunny when we returned to Sequim at the end of the day.)

Gigantic boulders in the water are a frequent occurrence here.  The rock formation below provided a stark contrast to the calm ocean on this gray day.

This is not a heavily populated area.  Occasionally, we drove through small towns, most of which had piers extending into the water.  We were especially happy when we found a convenience store in one of these towns with a restroom.

Near the end of the drive we entered Neah Bay and the Makah Reservation.  The Makah people have done a wonderful job preserving their history and their culture in this isolated part of the country.  

The Makah Cultural and Research Center provided a glimpse into what life was like for the tribe 300 - 500 years ago.  This is an outstanding museum, extremely well done.  We were not allowed to take pictures here; however, the essence of the museum is worth a few words:

In 1970 fierce storms at the nearby Ozette Village at Cape Alva uncovered portions of a village that had been buried in a landslide during an earthquake hundreds of years ago.  The Makah Tribal Council invited archeologist Richard Daugherty to study the site and create a research laboratory.  The current museum houses more than 55,000 artifacts and 40,000 structural fragments.  The Makah, like many native-American tribes, believe that they are a part of the planet, as is every living thing. The people took only what they needed and wasted nothing.  Seeing artifacts from their culture and learning how they survived was fascinating for me.  By the way, this is a first-class museum.  The $4 admission charge is a meager one considering the quality and display of the exhibits.  

Speaking of admission charges, our main reason for driving to Neah Bay was to walk the 3/4-mile Cape Flattery Trail.  In order to do so, we needed to purchase a $10 (good for one year) parking permit at the museum, another worthwhile expense. 

The trail led us back into the green forests to which we have become so accustomed on the Olympic Peninsula.  The Makah Tribe, which maintains the trail, have done some interesting things to keep hikers from getting their feet muddy on wet days.

Parts of the narrow trail are covered with wooden planks.

Other parts provided wooden tree circles (wooden stepping stones).

We were approaching Cape Flattery, the northwestern-most point in the continental United States.  But, shortly before the trail ended at the intersection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean, a side trail led to a fascinating inlet.

When we arrived at the end of the trail, amazing views greeted us in every direction.

On the left (west) a series of rock formations confirmed that the ocean is continually eroding away this rocky point.

On the right (east), a series of sea caves line the shore.  I especially like the colors in this photo.

The view straight ahead (northwest) is of Tatoosh Island and the Pacific Ocean.  The Cape Flattery Lighthouse adds visual interest to the island, as well as safety to the ships on the water.

There was also wildlife thriving in this environment.

Orange and purple starfish clinging to the rocks, a sight that still amazes me.

Two Oyster Catchers resting by the water.

A gull and her nest precariously balanced on the side of a cliff.

Time to head back.  One last shot of the northwestern-most point of the continental U.S. on a gray day:

The pet picture of the day shows some more of the wildlife at Cape Flattery --- a slimy bit of wildlife.

We have seen yellow banana slugs and brown banana slugs.  How about a camo banana slug?

If you miss our real pets, there will be several pics of them on our next post from Whidbey Island.


The Bright's said...

What a beautiful tour you took us on! Washington is a beautiful State... probably in part because it rains so much!

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Beautiful coastline!

Bill and Nancy said...

Just beautiful... You two have been in the Northwestern Most part of the country about the time we were in the Northeastern Most part. Interesting how similar they are with their rocky coast and foggy weather!!!