Olympic NP, Pacific Coast, Rialto Beach to Ozette River

Ben

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I took this summer off to ride my motorcycle up to Alaska and do some backpacking along the way. I left in June, and after seeing some friends in the Seattle area i went to do some hiking on the Olympic Coast.

This was my best trip of the whole summer, which was a little bit of a bummer since it was the first. Every other hike fell a little short of how perfect every thing was on this one. Gorgeous sunsets every night, great weather, no rain, lots of new sights, good sense of isolation. No crowds. I loved it.

My girl friend's brother was living in Seattle then, and had a day off, so he came to spend some time at the coast with me before i started the actual backpack. We went and walked around Beach 2, and either 3 or 4 before he had to leave.

I still have my fingers crossed that too much is better than too little.

Hunter, Brittinei's brother, in the fog on the coast. It really was kind of ethereal.
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Barnacles on the roots of a long washed up stump.
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Sea foam bubbles.
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Intact sand dollar.
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And Hunter again.
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Some sea birds.
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Anemones in a pool.
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I left Hunter in the after noon and rode the rest of the way up to Rialto Beach, across the Quillayute River from the small community of La Push. I got there with enough time left in the day to make it out near the Hole In The Wall and set up camp, about a mile and a half from the parking lot.

Here's looking at James Island across the mouth of the Quillayute River.
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Some sea stacks in the distance looking up Rialto Beach.
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Looking down the spit at the mouth of the Quillayute, James Island on the right, La Push on the right. I don't know if La Push has fire works every night, or just when i'm camped in sight of it, but this trip had fire works. Twice.
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James Island.
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Looking out from Rialto Beach as the sun goes down.
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Some sea stacks. These ones were like four or five stories tall.
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The next morning. Some times barnacles were in clusters like this.
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I'm not sure what these guys were.
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The Hole In The Wall. I walked right through it between tide pools.
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A marker for the overland route for when the tide is in and the Hole is flooded. Having a map and a current tide table is absolutely necessary for this trip.
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Sea star.
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Anemone.
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Looking back. James Island in the distance.
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A snail.
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An other arch where i stopped and ate lunch.
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Looking out from the first overland bypass, avoiding some impassable cliffs.
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The marker for that bypass.
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A washed up buoy. There were so many of these washed up here. And lots of rope also. And a pretty good amount of other trash, basically any thing that floated. Bottles, pallets, flip flops, a soccer ball, so much stuff.
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Looking back at the bypass. The tree left of the saddle is the one pictured above with the marker on it.
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An other sea stack.
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Looking down from one of the bypasses. I enjoyed these things. They were so simple, just a washed up rope tied off at the top of the climb. Made the whole thing doable.
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Found this just a little higher above the beach near a camp site.
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Wilson.
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Looking at an other by pass. You can see a rope, and some boards that have mostly given way.
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View from the top.
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The Norwegian shipwreck memorial.
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The beach there, low tide.
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A ghostly colored slug.
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Near the Norwegian memorial. There are camp sites in the trees here. There is also an old abandoned trail that goes to Lake Ozette. It's very rough, and over grown, and gets lost some times. I walked out it for an hour without coming in sight of the lake before i turned around.
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Later.
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I was sitting around out side my tent and i heard the strangest noise, like a jackhammer rhythm. A sea otter was pounding open a shell on it's chest with a rock.
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The next day i continued up toward Cape Alava. I came across some whale bones. Vertebrae.
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Scapula, or shoulder blade.
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A fin.
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Vertebrae and ribs.
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And even the skull. You can see my shadow next to it.
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More buoys. I enjoyed the color.
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Crab.
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An indication of just how many buoys i saw.
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A rather old chain.
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One link has opened.
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Looking North.
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Looking back.
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One of the things i really enjoyed was the mixed hiking conditions. Some times open sand beaches, some times cobbles, some times boulders. Some times exposed rock like this.
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An other tunnel to pass through.
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Not uncommon to have the route look like this.
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Or this.
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I think this is a petroglyph near Wedding Rocks.
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Ozette Island.
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Bodelteh Islands.
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Camp night three, at Cape Alava. I walked a little beyond here trying to make it to Point of Arches, but had to turn around a little short to avoid walking in the dark.
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Tskawahyah Island, connected at low tide.
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Nice reflection in the wet sand.
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Bald eagle.
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Point of Arches is some of those distant stacks. The ridge running behind every thing is Vancouver Island.
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The Ozette River, an easy ford.
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Barnacles.
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Mussels.
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An other small island.
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An over land by pass.
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This was as far North as i made it before i had to turn back.
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I liked these boulders.
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On the way back to camp, some islands. The point on the left is just the other side of the Ozette River.
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Looking down one of the by passes. Some were rather steep.
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The sun starts to go down as i'm walking back.
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Vancouver Island on the horizon.
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The next day i start retracing my steps back to the South. Tide's out.
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White Rock. That's actually it's name.
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I got here just a little late for the tide, and had to do a little bit of hand and foot on the rock to traverse above the water.
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Looking back after making it past.
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I finally found the deer that had been making all the prints. I actually saw three others, a doe with two fawns.
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Random metal relic.
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Less sand, more rocks.
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An other reflection.
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More cliffy islands. They're all over the place.
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Hawk on a rock.
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The sun starts to go down on night four.
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Late light.
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After a final gorgeous sun set i camped on the North side of the Hole In The Rock this time. I skipped my planned camp site and walked may be 19 miles this day to be closer to out the next morning.
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The marker for the parking lot.
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Total mileage for the trip was about 53 miles over four nights.
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Dave

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That color on night four was spectacular. That's a really cool-looking route.
 
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mike_offerman

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Great photos, looks like an awesome trip. Reminded me a lot of the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.
 
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slc_dan

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very nice! Looks like a way fun route. Love that you didn't see many. You got a couple really great sunsets too. magic.
 
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TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
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You might feel like this is your best of the trip, however all of your TRs and pics never disappoint. I'd love to pack the peninsula. Thanks Ben!

Salud!
 
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Joey

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Great collection of pictures Ben. Awesome. Hope to check it out next year.
 
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scatman

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Great shots @Ben , I particularly like the barnacles and the anemones. The whale vertebrae is really neat, something that I have never seen before. How big was it? Larger than your fist?

Did you rescue Wilson?

Great stuff as usual. Thanks for sharing.
 

Ben

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the body of the vertebrae were about a foot in diameter. the skull might have been as much as three feet across. the ribs were probably not quite so tall as you or i. it was cool seeing all the bones there because it was some thing i had never expected.
 

Scott Chandler

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Awesome Trip Report Ben! Being landlocked it is super cool to see the different environment. Thanks for sharing!
 

Ben

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Being landlocked

this aspect really added to the trip for me. every single thing was so different. having to pay attention to the tides because at certain times i wouldn't be able to get past a headland was a bit of a trip. thanks Scott.
 

Vegan.Hiker

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Amazing report Ben. Loved it. Something interesting and beautiful around every corner. You took really great pictures and told the story in a way where I felt like I was right there along with you. Thanks!
 

Curt

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I lived in western Oregon for a year. Seeing your pictures brought back some memories. Great pics by the way. Really enjoyed looking at them.
 

Aldaron

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Nice TR! We did Hole in the Wall a few years ago and you've reminded me how nice that trip to the Olympics was. It's also got me excited about my planned trip to Vancouver Island this spring! Thanks!
 

Artemus

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Very nice mister! What a great route. That was outside the ONP, correct? and in a Wildlfe Refuge. Did you need any permits?

I have never actually camped on the ocean shore. I may have to try this.

Great photos. You are getting good at this. Shooting in RAW yet?
 

Ben

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i was within the park the entire time. it actually stretches quite ways along the coast. i got a backcountry permit from the Quinalt ranger station on my way out. upon arriving at Rialto Beach though i found it was possible to self issue permits for some non quota areas which surprised me. pretty awesome.
 

Artemus

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i was within the park the entire time. it actually stretches quite ways along the coast. i got a backcountry permit from the Quinalt ranger station on my way out. upon arriving at Rialto Beach though i found it was possible to self issue permits for some non quota areas which surprised me. pretty awesome.
Oh... It WAS in Olympic National Park. Interesting. Did you consider any way to make a loop out of it, cutting inland?
 

Ben

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Oh... It WAS in Olympic National Park. Interesting. Did you consider any way to make a loop out of it, cutting inland?

i do not believe that such an option is realistic, with the exception of the Ozette Loop that utilizes two trails that hit the beach about three miles apart from each other, a very small loop. i walked it's beach section on this trip. it would be a good option to extend from, both directions along the beach, and repeat less ground. that's probably what i would do the next time i went back so i could see Point Of Arches.

the nature of the rain forest there makes off trail travel essentially impossible, and building and maintaining a trail quite difficult.
 

Titans

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Love it - right up my alley! That's very impressive - 19 miles on the last day with pack and dealing with the tide, rocks and sand.
Thanks for sharing.
 
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