Are you kidding me?
This last winter we had a heck of a time getting to our survey beach, Toleak Beach. Washington took a beating with some high wind storms resulting in many blowdowns over the trail. Not only somewhat dangerous to scramble over but a best a lot of expended energy.
And making it to our beach wasn’t a guarantee that we’d have a successful survey. More than once we were turned back by a storm surge covering our beach despite it being low tide.
Yet, this time everything was in our favor; we had a negative tide to work with, the temperature was perfect for hiking, the sun was out and the wind was light. In addition to our science kit, I was also taking my film gear to grab some footage for a short film I’m working on for COASST.
So, with everything in our favor, what could go wrong? Well, how about losing an expensive camera on the trail? My heart stopped when I reached for my hip belt to grab my DJI OSMO Pocket only to find it missing. For a moment I considered continuing on and searching for the lost gear after the survey, but with the pleasant weather, I expect the trail to start seeing more hikers. As I pondered my options I realized that I just wouldn’t be able to concentrate on the job at hand knowing my gear was next to the trail waiting for someone else to find it.
So it was about facing and start searching as we made our way back to the trailhead. Good news; found the gear. Bad news; we lost our survey. Maddening.
Third Beach Falls
So what to do at this point? If we couldn’t survey we decided we should at least explore something we wouldn’t get to do.
I knew that there was a seasonal waterfall on the south end of Third Beach. The hike up and over Scott’s Bluff doesn’t leave any energy for other hikes, but here was at least some way to salvage our trip to La Push.
The trail out to Third Beach is flat and pleasant to hike. There is one section that is both a bit tricky and very muddy. As you approach the beach you have to descend a bluff created by a small drainage. Apparently, sometime over the winter, a section was washed out and it’s a straight drop of about 50’. They’ve rigged a rope you can use to climb down. But, you’re going to want to have the right foot gear and you’re going to be muddy when it’s all done.
It’s worth the climb. As we popped out on the beach I had some comfort in realizing to immediately search for my gear was the correct one. There were quite a few people enjoying the beautiful weather.
Third Beach Falls is probably the most prominent of the few waterfalls in the state of Washington which drops directly into the ocean. The falls drop off a high bluff on the south end of Third Beach in Olympic National Park. Though the Olympic Peninsula is by far the wettest area in the state, due to the very small drainage area of the unnamed stream feeding the falls, it only flows for a few months out of the year – basically the rainy months – before running dry in the spring. If you can manage to visit while the falls are flowing, its a nice punctuation to the beach scene.