Ken asked me to be a guest blogger because, since I’m a teacher, I suddenly have a crazy amount of time to fill in the summer. I’m Ken’s wife, Hannah, A.K.A. Ken’s partner in all things outdoors! (Not to downplay the fact that I’m also his partner in other things like, you know, raising our crazy children and putting food on our table and shelter over our heads. But since this is an outdoor blog, we’ll focus on, “partners in all things outdoors!”) So, when Ken mentioned the Lake Ozette Triangle as an option for filling our long 4th of July weekend, I’ll admit, I was like, “Yes!” Backpacking is my favorite way to combine hiking and camping and the Lake Ozette hike is a flat 3 miles on boardwalk, then another flat 3 miles up the beach and then another flat 3 miles back to the beginning. Did I just say, “flat” three times? Okay, so sometimes (especially after crazy school years), I like easy hikes!
So…we packed up, headed to the Olympic Penninsula and took that lazy 3 mile stroll along the boardwalk to Sand Point, our destination for the first night. The kids were in rare form…few complaints (besides the slight incline our tween dramatically referred to as a mountain), quick pace and eager anticipation of a quick frolic to our destination to play on the beach.
Here’s Levi frolicking along the path:
The closer to Sand Point we got, the more raindrops we started to feel. What? Rain in the rainforest? Did I sign up for that?
As we arrived at camp the rain was still falling steadily but lightly (more on that later). Here’s our camp below. Note the driftwood shelter Levi created to keep dry while the tent was set up.
After we set up camp, it was time to explore the wild…
That’s me below, having an, “I’m king of the world” moment! (That little stream is where the freshwater stream, where one must pump water to survive in the wild, meets the ocean. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my best “partner in all things outdoors”, for being the king of water pumping for his family’s survival)
My children never miss an opportunity to do gymnastics in the wild! From the mom perspective, the tween needs a little lesson on not letting her hair drag on the ground in the land-of-no-showers-for-many-days. (Speaking of hair, Leah is the only backpacker I know who actually carried a full-size – obnoxiously large – brush into the wild for this adventure.)
It’s always fun to see Sea Anemones when the tide is out! (Lots of tide pools in the area to enjoy!)
And speaking of wild…I’m not sure how to describe this guy who entered our presence while exploring. He ran down the beach toward us in his skivvies, waved “hi”, turned around and ran back down the beach. We saw him running down the beach again later – still in his skivvies but this time also proudly displaying a feather in his hair. At this point we had a discussion about how he was kind of a Tarzan-Tonto combo.
We enjoyed the peaceful beach and views in both directions.
The next picture should be titled, “The Calm Before the Storm” because shortly after, it started raining and we spent a good amount of the afternoon in our tent napping, reading “Hatchet” to the kids and taking family “selfies” on our iphones (yes, we stoop to the level of selfies to keep our kids in good spirits). I didn’t mind the rain at first but should probably mention that it did get old and I, myself, threw a little tantrum the next morning when we had to pack up camp in the miserable rain and mud pre-coffee, while our kids pouted under driftwood logs and asked to go home. My husband learned a lesson in never packing up camp before making the wife coffee. I learned that maybe I should learn how to turn on the backpacking stove and make my own coffee!
Post the no-coffee-rainy-packing-up-incident, we endured our next three mile hike north up the beach. It was definitely a rainy one and we all donned our full rain gear for the first time ever on a backpacking trip. Morale was sort of low, especially after a few slips and Leah misplaced her camera. But it was hard to dispute the beauty and we enjoyed hearing a chorus of sea lions.
After our rather wet hike 3 miles up the beach, we made it to our camp at Cape Alava. Our camp had a great view of the beach and was complete with a rope swing made of beach debris (washed up ropes and buoys), which allowed the kids hours of fun and fighting!
Levi and I walked around the Island below quickly and dramatically, keeping our eyes on the tide coming in the whole time. We enjoyed many conversations about what we’d do if the tide came in and we found ourselves stranded on the island. Those kinds of conversations are what I love about taking my kids into nature. So much, “scope for the imagination” as Anne of Green Gables would say.
Beautiful seascapes abound in this part of the region! (But don’t look too close or you might notice the thick kelp/seaweed beds covered in obnoxious sand fleas that are so abundant you can actually hear popping and jumping sounds all around if you are close!)
To end our journey, the following pictures are a look at “time out” in the wild, as our children worked through the issues brought forth by only having one great rope swing and two children.
While rainy and miserable at times, we still enjoy every opportunity to explore nature with the kids…and it helped that this particular trip was followed by burgers and a 3-hour soak in Sol Duc Hot Springs!
Adventure Date: July 3-5, 2014