Today we set out to make it to the most northwestern (emphasis on the western) point in the contiguous USA, Cape Flattery. Driving along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we see heavy fog creeping across the water toward shore.
Pulling over, Hubs spots water spouting into the air, just at the edge of the fog bank.
Whales! The backs of two grey whales can be seen rising out of the water. Another spout.
By now we are on the beach and I am hopping about and squealing about whales.
Farther up the road, we reach the Makah Indian Reservation, passing a harbor filled with a herd of fishing boats.
Wooden signs made by children are posted all along the road with helpful tips like "Shoot for the stars, not up your arms" painted in bright colors. The housing we see is impoverished, and many of the mobile homes have broken windows and some are missing exterior walls. Whether or not they are inhabited is hard to tell.
A few more miles up the road is the trailhead for Cape Flattery. The hike is beautiful and short, crossing a series of charming boardwalks and stumps sunk into the ground. There are plenty of toe-stubbing roots to keep us alert until we see water through the trees. Just before reaching the ocean, we can feel slight vibrations in the ground under our feet, and a roar punctuated by dull thudding. We are standing above caverns cut by the pounding surf, and as each big wave hurls itself into them, we can feel the percussions.
A pair of Cormorants nests on the sheer side of the cliff, scolding us for so rudely peeking over the edge into their home. What's a bird got to do to get a little privacy around here?
The fog still hovers just off shore, but rather than ruining our view, it adds more mystery to our surroundings. The low, plaintive song of a buoy echoes through the mist.
After hiking back to the car, we drive to our secret beach from a few days ago and enjoy some time to ourselves without having to babysit pugs.
I could spend days poking through the rocky shoreline, hunting for undiscovered critters suctioned to the boulders. I find a white oblong sea-thing, about four inches long and wrinkly white, like a heel that has been in the water too long. Along the back are a series of hard plate-like overlapping spines and the underside is hollow, showing the bottom of each spine so as to look like gills. I have no idea what it is and I don't even know how to begin researching it.
Green sea anemones reach out into the passing waters of the tidal pools, groping for a bite to eat. The hermit crabs that patrol these pools appear to have an interesting relationship with the anemones. When a hermit crabs encounters an anemone, they are most eager for contact, seeming to pick at the sides of the anemone. Then when the anemone catches a foot or antennae with a sticky arm, the crab lunges away from it.
We wander to a rocky sandstone bluff and marvel at the bowls and swirls that the crashing ocean waves have carved into it. The sun is getting lower in the horizon and our internal "Feed Pugs Soon" timer is loudly chiming, so we reluctantly cease our explorations and head back home.