The Olympic National park has within its boundaries over 70 miles of protected coastline. Much of it can be accessed by trails but there are plenty of areas only truly appreciated by boat. All of it is beautiful. So in an area that has so much to offer how to you possibly choose a that one photograph that stands out from the rest? Not very easily in most cases but in this particular instance the section of coastline made the process somewhat easier. It’s easy to see why this area is called the Giants Graveyard and it has a surreal feel to be paddling through it.
The coastal portion of the park is a rugged, sandy beach along with a strip of adjacent forest. It is 60 miles long but just a few miles wide, with native communities at the mouths of two rivers. The Hoh River has the Hoh people and at the town of La Push at the mouth of the Quileute River live the Quileute.
The beach has unbroken stretches of wilderness ranging from 10 to 20 miles. While some beaches are primarily sand, others are covered with heavy rock and very large boulders. Bushy overgrowth, slippery footing, tides and misty rain forest weather all hinder foot travel. (Times to hike should typically be doubled.) The coastal strip is more readily accessible than the interior of the Olympics; due to the difficult terrain, very few backpackers venture beyond casual day-hiking distances.
There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. — Lord Byron
The most popular piece of the coastal strip is the 9-mile Ozette Loop. The Park Service runs a registration and reservation program to control usage levels of this area. From the trailhead at Ozette Lake, a 3-mile leg of the trail is a boardwalk-enhanced path through near primal coastal cedar swamp. Arriving at the ocean, it is a 3-mile walk supplemented by headland trails for high tides. This area has traditionally been favored by the Makah from Neah Bay. The third 3-mile leg is enabled by a boardwalk which has enhanced the loop’s popularity.