After breakfast and some regrouping time we headed out towards Cape Flattery. This is billed as the most northwestern point in the continental US. The drive was very interesting and for the most part beautiful. Ben says his best description would be driving over Sam’s Gap on the “old” road – over and over again. The road follows generally along close to the US side of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca – separating the US and Canada. We drove as far west as you could go. Here the mountains rise directly from the sea and there are varying amounts of somewhat flat land where a river joins the sea. In between these valleys are mountains – not really tall ones – maybe 1,500 to 2,000 feet but steep curvy road none the less. Add to this that we were in and out of clouds and that the traffic was primarily huge logging trucks – think the coal trucks in SW VA on the older roads. Got the idea? It took us about 2 hours to drive the 70 miles to Neah Bay.
|Along Strait of San Juan de Fuca|
We passed through several very small towns and finally arrived at Neah Bay which is the main town on the Makah Indian Reservation. This reservation like the one yesterday seemed fairly prosperous. They charge a $10 per car fee to drive out to Cape Flattery and the beaches. We ate lunch at one of the two restaurants open in town. Ben had an excellent French Dip sandwich and Jane just played it safe with a hamburger. Both were good – Ben’s French Dip excellent according to him.
|View of Harbor at Neah Bay - from restaurant|
The drive on to Cape Flattery was about 5 miles through thick forest. We knew the Pacific was close but you could not see it or the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. They meet here at Cape Flattery. We parked at the end of the road and started down a trail. After going down a trail at a steep grade for about 200 feet we could see it was getting steeper and steeper – signage stating the trail was not for those with weak ankles, knees, or backs along with the increasingly steep grade convinced us to stop…so we were 1/2 mile from the actual cape – I say we made it in spirit!
|Trail DOWN to Cape Flattery|
We drove a little south to Hobuck Beach which was deserted but another beautiful view of the Pacific. From here you could hike further south and be back in the National Park and an area called Shi Shi Beach which is said to have some outstanding sea stacks. This area is certainly different from any beaches we are familiar with in the south but are equally beautiful.
|Hobuck Beach on Makah Reservation|
We stopped in the general store and Ben bought a tee shirt and some Gatorade. We are really big spenders!
About 1/3 of the way back there is a road connecting the road we traveled on along the strait to the main road 101 that we had traveled twice. We knew it was a better road so we took that way back. Part of the trip back however did allow us to see the Strait of San Juan de Fuca with a clear sky as the sun had broken through and we could even see the Canadian Mountains on Victoria Island faintly across the water.
|All above Strait of San Juan de Fuca|
A word tonight about the logging on the Olympic Peninsula., There are 19 logging companies on the Peninsula. There is a Nippon Paper Pulp Factory in Port Angeles and a Plywood Factory as well. I noticed another company making special order wood products. So the forests here are very important to the economy. There are signs telling what years an area is harvested, replanted, and harvested again. There are signs saying NO MORE NATIONAL PARK LAND. I imagine there are quite the political battles over this and other environmental issues. I include several photos of the trucks and wood yards here for flavor.
Back at the Red Lion we spent an hour or so watching the large ships coming and going from the port; and then walked to Jasmine Bistro for an excellent Thai dinner. They had a tapa menu so we ordered several appetizers and then each had a small size dinner serving. Everything was good – Chicken Satay, Dungness Crab Butterflies (like Crab Rangoon), Pork Pad Thai, and Dungness Crab Fried Rice. Forgot to take the camera but they looked as good as they tasted!
Watching the water, reading, and typing this blog filled our evening. Maybe we can watch some TV. Tomorrow is catch up day and we turn in our car and get ready to leave a 6 AM on Wednesday for the the final part of our Anniversary Adventure.