Olympic, WA

Maybe it was the severe cloudy sky, maybe the thick smell of the ocean, the gray beach, or the dead and rotting seal I came across, but I had quite an awful time at this park. I could barely get through this hike, to be honest.

Regardless, I hiked the Ozette Triangle trail, 9.6 miles, mostly flat. Deep in the temperate rainforest of coastal Washington, the mossy-branched trees stood tall on both sides of the trail. Signs warned of cougars among the thick green leafy vegetation off both sides of the boardwalk. And I believed the warnings, giving me yet another reason to hustle through this hike.

Some of the thicker parts of this forest really began to remind me of Florida, especially with the humidity. But thankfully, there were no mosquitoes to be found, and the humidity was a cool, breathable 74 degrees (as opposed to over 98 in the Florida summers). I will take Washington state over Florida any day.

One rainforest leg of the triangle lead out to the beach. I could tell I was getting close by the overpowering smell of the ocean and the thick mist that washed over the outlying islands that popped up in the surf.

A depressing, morose beach fit for an edgy vampire novel. Gray, filled with flies swamping organic debris while crows milled around and squawked, staring at me apathetically.

One of its few fun parts was the driftwood swing someone had constructed out at the beach with some rope dangling off a tree. A little hard to see in this picture, but I hopped up and sat there for a long time trying to improve my mood. It didn’t have much effect, so I eventually shoved myself along.

I continued to march down the beach to find the only redeeming part of this hike.

The little crabs, in the many tide pools. Hundreds of them, running around the shallow water, all colors to match the rocks except for the red ones (which I noticed had been picked off by the crows in the sand). Thousands and thousands of tiny snails and hermit crabs had anchored themselves to every part of every rock. But after the hike thus far, I was almost unimpressed with the petroglyphs on the huge rocks at the beach.

Leaf aliens? That was my impression, although I’m very sure there is a much better historical explanation.
A “natural arch,” although a bit small to me after visiting Arches, UT.
At the tip of the beach, just before heading back into the woods is a rock formation you can easily climb up to get a good view. But I awkwardly found someone sleeping up there, and crept around him to take this picture. Hope he wasn’t awake that whole time.
There is an alternate trail running just inside the woods along the beach for when the water level is too high to walk the sand. I could have gone around using the beach rocks, but this looked a little more fun. These ropes are tied around the trees to help hikers up and down the slippery dirt and tree roots. A “high-adventure” trail, as someone said to me.
The view from the top of the small cliff after pulling myself up one of those ropes.

Still quite demoralized, I set my legs to take me back through the last leg of the triangle. More rainforest, back to the trail head. It became a huge green blur.

Despite everything, I really appreciated that NPS had constructed all of these boardwalks at Olympic. The two 3-mile sides of the Ozette Triangle were pretty much like this the entire way. Although, in a few places, some of the boards had rotted and broken through, so I would try not to stomp too much on the middle of the path.

I happily got back in my car and left Olympic.


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