Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lake Ozette

Whisky16 on Lake Ozette
red willow roots dangle in the lake
heading for the trail head
boardwalk trail
tree burned hollow
Hollow red cedar log
A slow-moving yellow slime mold explores the forest floor in search of food
The Olympic Peninsula, which defines the northwest tip of Washington State, is home to the Makah tribe whose land includes Tatoosh Island at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca; a great kayaking area. For a couple of thousand years there was a Makah village site on the Pacific coast at Cape Alava, south of the Makah village of Neah Bay. Part of that village was buried by a mudslide around 1700. Storms in 1970 began to expose artifacts that had been engulfed by the slide, and excavation uncovered six long houses and more than 55,000 artifacts.

The Makah Cultural and Research Center (museum) at Neah Bay has a great display of these artifacts, including canoes, tools and fine cedar bark fiber baskets.

Familiar with the magnificent coastline Kristin and I determined to explore somewhere we'd not seen before; Lake Ozette, third largest lake in Washington State. A narrow strip of forest stands between the lake and the ocean.

High pressure clamping a damp marine layer of low cloud and fog to the coast had finally moved, freeing the coast to hot dry weather!

A circuit of the lake in our Point65 Whisky16s found us dodging for shade, and discovering brilliant red willow roots dangling in the lake, deep blue gentian flowers in the lakeside meadows, and snaking tree roots where higher lake levels or rougher weather had eroded the shore between the trees.

A trail leads from a half-hidden landing place into the semi-darkness of temperate rain forest. A crude bouncing boardwalk  leads two miles to the Pacific, threading between the trees and above the channels and streams.

Finally we broke through the deep undergrowth onto a pile of bleached logs, and beyond to a sun-baked sand beach. It was hotter than I've ever experienced on the Washington coast, so we soon plunged back with relief into the shade beneath the dense canopy of forest. Back at the lake the breeze was brisk, whipping up little breakers that kept us pleasantly cool with spray for the remainder of our circuit of the lake.

Next day we took a different board walk hike from our camp site near the Ranger Station through the forest to the ocean.

There is another route from the same start place that reaches the beach three miles north from the one we took... so we hiked the beach and followed the other route back.

Since the weather was so great and there were almost no bugs, after dark we lay on our backs in the open watching the Perseid meteorite shower... shooting stars blazing across a star-studded sky!

(by the way... slime molds actually do move around... I wasn't joking! They're really interesting creatures!)

A strange spider-like monster above our heads... ( a "Forks vampire spider"?)
Sun dried sea-life.

Rocks off the coast make it a graveyard for ships
Low tide rock pools teem with life...
including sea anemones
the islands offshore are part of the marine reserve

higher paths lead offer high tide escape routes.
Kristin takes a dive into the lake to wash off the salt... and cool off
Return journey... ferry across Puget Sound approaches Seattle
The end of a fun escape!


Little Bro said...

n-i-c-e trip! Did you get Kristin to pose above the lake like that for long?

nigel said...

only a minute or two... she was having second thoughts anyway!