Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ozette Triangle at Last

You know what they say...if first you don't succeed; try, try again. It's a great motto--but unfortunately for me it's more like, "when your plans have failed before, you will try again...but be prepared to be paranoid the entire time that something will go terribly wrong".
(the story of my first failed attempt
Nevertheless, we got onto the ferry just fine--the last one of the day. (No second chance if we were late, so that worried me, for sure) We found where we would be staying the night just fine. Our alarms went off to get us up in time. But despite all these details going just fine, there were a few circumstances that were out of our control that made us off schedule by over an hour. 
One of these 'circumstances' was that we missed the turn and ended up in Forks. (Yes, being dorks is something that is out of our control) I wouldn't say that any of us are Twilight fans, but that doesn't mean we were going to miss a photo opportunity.
We are making fangs like we're vampires. This would classify us as "super dorks"
By the time we got to the trailhead, it was 1:00 pm. This would give us a little over 4 hours to do a 9 mile hike before it started to get dark. Can you blame me for being paranoid?  I mean, if we were going to commit to doing this hike, we had no time for anything to go wrong.

We did try to be well prepared, though, and packed extra layers of clothes and our headlamps in case it did get dark on us. Although, Debbie decided it wasn't necessary to bring her emergency fire starting kit she got for Christmas and left it at home. (Which of course made me think this was going to be the one time we would need one) She also forgot her 'yak trax' that we specifically bought for this hike. (They're to put on your shoes to give you traction--thanks to the suggestion of the hikers on the NWhikers forum) Can you believe she said it was because I had rubbed off on her? She was razzing me, of course; but I'm afraid she's right, because it's something she would normally never do. She came to the rescue though by figuring out we could each wear one, and it worked well enough to keep us safe on the very slippery boards.
When we got to the ocean (the 'legit' ocean, as my daughter called it, because it was our first time on Washington shore that wasn't in the Puget Sound) I had a moment of panic. The trail started going to the right. I knew we had to go left...or did I? This was a simple equation--it's a triangle. We went right at the start, now we go left. But there was no sign, and the trail was going right. There was no time to make a mistake, and no time to be following a trail we shouldn't be on. But everyone wanted to see where the trail went; so we followed it, and thankfully it wasn't far and ended at some campsites. So we turned around and went to the left...but I'll confess that for the rest of the time, I was 1% worried we were going the wrong way and would end up staying the night with no fire or tent.

The other 99% of me was blown away by the beauty of this hike. I couldn't get over how amazing the giant rock formations in the ocean were; it was hard to walk because I couldn't take my eyes off them. So much so, that I'm afraid I would have missed the most astonishing part of this wonderful adventure if it weren't for my daughter. What the rest of us thought was just a big rock up from the shore turned out to be something else entirely. Suddenly Amber shouts, "Holy's a whale!!!" (Normally I'm not a mother that condones swearing, but if ever there was a time, this was it)
We were totally excited, and very saddened at the same time. What a majestic creature; (over 20 feet long!) it almost felt wrong to stand around it's dead body and take pictures. But how could we not capture this moment--it was a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Nature is beautiful and severe; and the dead whale would not be the only thing to prove it.
Harsh to come across yet another corpse...beautiful to watch the eagles that were feasting flying around us so close.

Another episode of panic came to me when we were going around a point of land on the beach because the only other option was to climb an extremely difficult (not to mention unsafe) looking rope to go up and over. (This is why you want to go during low tide) It really hit me, as I looked out at the water, how much I didn't know about how fast the tide could come in, or what situation that would put us in if we didn't get to the trail that heads back in a timely manner. Debbie and Mi Sun looked as if they were lollygagging, (I was ahead for a change) so I yelled back at them (with conviction) to "HURRY UP". When they caught up, Debbie let me know (with conviction) that instead of lollygagging, they were simply trying not to twist an ankle on the extremely slippery algae covered rocks. Oops...sorry Deb.
Debbie providing some much needed comic relief
So it was with great comfort that we finally came upon the marker to the last leg of the hike. (and just as the sun was starting to set) 
This is right when the rainbow came out--can you believe it? I don't want to be corny, but it really was a moment for me.
Rainbows are such a symbol of matter how bad things look at times, there is always beauty in the world. And this hike really captured all of that in my mind; from worry to relief, from anxiety to astonishment, from not knowing how things will turn out, to experiencing was all there.
It did get dark on the way out, but it was all good. Because of the boards, it's pretty impossible to lose your way. (Even for me ;)) When we reached the car, I declared it was one of the best days of my life. I understood that as much as everyone else enjoyed it, they couldn't quite put it in that high of a category. I also understood that it was because of all my fear, and the feeling that the weight of the success or failure of the day was on my shoulders, that gave me such emotion over it. Just like we are not able to fully appreciate what is beautiful without having the contrast of knowing what is ugly, sometimes it is our failures (or even the fear of them) that gives greater depth and richness to our victories.
P.S. Hiking lesson #26--packing extra clothes is unhelpful if you don't have a waterproof backpack; unless you're in need of extra wet clothes.


  1. Sounds like a great trip! Absolutely going to add this one to my to-do list! Although, actually I think my dad & I did this back in about 1983 or so as an overnight -- all I really remember was freaking out all night long about bears. We didn't see any, but it wasn't until we had set up camp that I realized there 'could' be bears out there.
    Thanks again for sharing the great story and amazing photos!

  2. I'm considering this hike and was searching for more info. Thank you for the detailed post about it! :)

  3. great post !! I too have had this hike on my list, good info.

  4. I have seen bears out there! One time they were hanging out on the beach really close to campsites at Sand Point. Also, being careful on the slippery rocks is crucial: once on that hike, I slipped on a rock (too interested in checking out the tidepools) and broke my wrist. That made for an interesting trip back.....