Looking back over the years of camping trips that Tim and I have made, we have a few favorite spots that we like to return to. Lake Ozette, way out on the NW tip of Olympics, ranks as one of our favorites.
The 15-site National Park campground is right on the lake at the end of the road so the traffic is light. The grounds are a lush green because every winter the lake floods the camp giving it that park look. The campground is almost always quiet because "pilgrims" rarely come here--it isn't on the way to anywhere.
Jesica and Marc had been itching to take Kyron on his first camping trip so we suggested Lake Ozette as the site of his initiation to the joys of sleeping in the out of doors.
Tim often has to go to Sequim and/or Port Angeles these days for his work as HR Director. We planned to begin our trip directly after a work day in Sequim on Thursday the 12th of July, so we would be closer to our destination; Peggy wandered the downtown stores while Tim did his work ( I have a few favorite stores I like in town) and then we made the two hour drive from Sequim out to the (almost) most northern tip of the contiguous United States.
View to the north of the camp ground (this is the way to the back door for Sea Foam creek, a one way 5 mile hike to some fabulous beaches that normally you have to hike 10 miles in the sand to get to...)
The ranger station at the trailhead with posh flushing toilets on the left, trailhead in the center.
Our timing was perfect for the salmon berries--a weakness of Tim's. They can be sour when yellow and mostly sweet when red. He doesn't care much which color they are.
Like I mentioned the pickings were easy!
On Thursday evening when we arrived, we didn't have too many choices where to camp. But the next morning people left, so we moved to this spacious camp site at the front of the grounds. It had lots of room for Marc and Jesica's tent. We looked pretty funny moving carrying our tent down the road to the new site with sleeping bags and the air mattress inside all pumped up. It wasn't the first time we have done it!
Next morning, after a Captain Crunch breakfast, we carried the canoe to the lake and went for a paddle. The lake started out calm, but shortly after eating lunch the wind kicked up and we had a bit of a battle getting back to the campground without swamping the boat or getting wet!
After a rest and some more quiet time, we decided to hike out to the beach. We determined that Kyron would enjoy Sand Point the best so we took the trail to Cape Alava.
We laced up our tennis shoes and headed for the trailhead and wandered down the board walk. Ozette Lake is situated inland about 3 miles from the coast via your choice of two trails; one to Cape Alava and one to Sand Point. If you wish to "do the loop" (as many folks do) you can also hike 3 miles along the beach until you reach the other trailhead. On this particular trip we opted to not hike the beach. Most of the trail to Cape Alava is on either gravel turnpikes or boardwalks. The old boardwalks are being replaced, so I decided that I needed some shots to remember with nostalgia.
Cape Alava unveiled; usually it is shrouded in fog, but today there was an off-shore flow so we could see the tide pools and sea stacks off shore. It took us about an hour to get out there.
|Peggy at Cape Alava|
We didn't stay long since it was dinner time and we didn't want to hike in the dark. It was a weird combo of warm sand and cool breezes out there. Every campsite on the beach seemed to be filled with backpackers--several multi-generation families were enjoying time together.
As you hike along in dense-to-dappled green forest, over trickling brooks and stands of Skunk Cabbage, suddenly you come to an open area called Ahlstrom's Prarie.
Some early settlers came to this area to homestead. They tried orchards, farming and cattle. Nothing worked and they were too far from the beaten track for regular supply runs. There is still a cabin back in there somewhere that the Park maintains, but no designated trail to visit it.
After our return trip we still had some daylight, so we enjoyed some black licorice and Walmart diet cola. Never tried it? Yum. The black licorice enhances the cola flavor quite nicely. I don't usually drink soda anymore, but for some reason I decided to purchase a 12 pack. It was nice and cold to drink!
Around midnight, Marc, Jes and Kyron arrived. We climbed out of bed and help to put up their tent and got them situated. It only took about 30 minutes to set it all up; it took a bit longer than that to get Kyron to go back to sleep!
Next day, after a similar breakfast, Marc and Jes enjoyed a short ride in the canoe. Kyron stayed with Gma and Gpa on shore.
Finally the sun decided to break through the marine layer and we all hiked out to Sand Point.
|View from the bridge looking back over the River to Lake Ozette|
|Marc, Jes, Peggy and Kyron heading out to look at the eagles and tide pools.|
Kyron loved the hike, looking at everything and enjoyed his position in the backpack. We stayed the afternoon on the beach, eating turkey sandwiches and nectarines for lunch. Eventually we were sunburned and needed to return to camp. We prepared a yummy lasagna in the dutch oven for dinner.
|Kyron enjoying a crawl in the grass.|
|The joys of parenthood-- feeding a child in motion is not easy!|
We really enjoyed being part of Kyron's first outdoor sleepover. Can we do it again soon Kyron? Maybe we will need to leave your parents home....
Hugs and Kisses to everyone! Hopefully Jesica will post some of her pictures soon!