Monday, September 16, 2013

Go Home Seal, You’re Drunk: Cape Alava

Cape Alava on the Ozette Loop in Olympic National Park. Washington State, USA. That’s the mouthful of a place that hereto will be known as Ozette because that’s what I kept calling it and why stop now? The beach is the western-most place on the contiguous US and winner of the Melina’s First Backpacking Trip award. Granted all I did was carry a slightly heavier-than-normal pack over three miles of boardwalk, but if we’re being real, it’s about the most nature-centric thing I’m apt to do in my lifetime.

After a day spent in the sunny rain forest, we emerged from the trail to find a misty, foggy, chilly coastline littered with rocks and driftwood. Of course the pièce de résistance was that all night long we were serenaded by the sounds of barking sea lions just off the shore, somewhere in the mist. Hence our often-repeated phrase for the evening: ‘Go home seal, you’re drunk.’

In my mind, it was the perfect experience to make me feel like I was really in the thick of nature without freaking out over how isolated we were. There were other people around, but far enough away that we could have a quiet night exploring the beach. Well… somewhat quiet. Basically, I’ll let the pictures do the talking (and there are many so in the great words of Samuel L. Jackson, hold on to your butts).

{The view from our campsite and the view of our campsite.}

{The fire that took forever to start because, duh, everything in the vicinity is soaking wet.}

{The fog lifted very briefly and we were able to get a glimpse of the seal infested island.}

The next morning we completed the Ozette Loop by hiking down the rocky beach (ohhh, it was so rocky). I didn’t take out my actual camera because it was misting the whole time, but James took some pictures on his phone. The hike itself was a bit mentally taxing because we were completely alone and the entire time I was sure that we were going the wrong way. I mean… it’s pretty easy to just go south when you’re on the coast, but we had both thought the hike was a nice stroll down the beach and mostly it just looked like this:

photo 1

So as is tradition on these hikes of ours, I soon became convinced we were going to hike and hike until one of us (me) collapsed in a fit of exhaustion and got washed out to sea. However, after turning one corner we stumbled upon the eeriest, but by far most awesome thing we encountered the whole trip.

photo 2photo 4

A giant, decaying whale carcass. Our best guess was an Orca, but that’s not a very educated one. Regardless, not exactly your everyday encounter, you know? Which I think made it just cool enough for me to not totally flip out and think we were going to die. I always toe that very thin line, especially when low on sleep and energy. Though I was cautious/foolish enough to not offer to stand next to it or take a picture of James with it (as if it was going to attack me or something… who knows?). The perspective would have been nice because the thing was like 20 feet long and wildly impressive.

Turns out we were going the right way (James would definitely want me to point that out) and just as we were finishing up the beach portion, we crossed paths with a family starting the hike in the reverse. A family with really young children. Which made all my worrying and anxiety look really, really stupid. Freaking kids were doing this hike! Oh well, such is my life.


  1. Okay that skeleton would have scared me a bit, but it's still super interesting.

  2. looks like you've been having some adventures! that skeleton is indeed, super creepy.
    Chic on the Cheap

  3. A whale carcass?! That's intense! (Maybe just to me since I'm terrified of whales?)

    Your pictures are simply gorgeous!

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