The coast of Washington is one of the few places left where can enjoy incredible vistas and have the place to yourself. Jump in a kayak and hit one of the many pocket beaches tucked in behind the numerous points and your guaranteed to have the place to yourself. This particular shot is representative of what you likely to find…but, in the case it was an exception to the rule. Or more accurately, it was the partial exception.

Mosquito Creek

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Mosquito Creek

Let me explain. A few summer ago while paddling down the coast searching for evidence of tsunami debris we pulled into this beach to camp for the evening. After having unloaded our boats and setting up camp Jason noticed a backpack among the drift wood with a towel draped over the log next to it as if the owner had dropped his pack and was getting ready to setup his own camp.

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

There certainly was enough beach to share and we continue on preparing dinner expecting to see our neighbor at any time. When night finally descended we though it curious but expected to hear him shortly setting up his own camp.

When morning broke and we still had no one claiming the gear, curiosity quickly turned to apprehension. Had the owner wondered off for fresh water and immobile with a broken ankle? Had they gone for a cooling swim and got caught in a strong current?

It took a bit of debate to decide whether to go through the gear but we eventually decide safety trumped privacy. Looking through the gear two things struck us; no wallet and no keys. For led hiking trips along the coast, I know how deceptive people think the hike could be and started to think that perhaps he decide hiking just wasn’t his thing.

It was a few days before we got off the water, but stopping by the ranger station to report what we had found was the first thing on our list. After making the report I asked the ranger if she had ever had anything like this before. Her response was after 17 years in the park this would be the first if the hiker had indeed decided to lighten his load and just hike out. Sounded a bit ominous.

Fortunately a few days later I received a call from the ranger that indeed that was exactly what had happened.

The coast is beautiful but it can be a back-breaker!


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