The Washington Coast

On Friday morning at 6:30, I woke up to a pair of screeching scrub jays outside my window. These are particularly intimidating looking birds – they have these crazy white eyebrows, creating an ever-scowling expression on their sharp-beaked faces. Regardless of my rude awakening, I had a wonderful breakfast with a colleague from school and then tossed a rucksack in my car and picked up fellow adventurer, Sarah Cass. We decided to head through Forks to La Push and spend the day exploring the Washington Coast. Days like these remind me why I love living in this state.

First Beach is located in La Push, which is part of the Quileute Nation. It is a gorgeous and sacred place. I still can’t believe I had never been there! It was an unusually sunny day on the coast, especially since the weather in Olympia and Aberdeen was cold, wet and gray.

From first beach, we headed back south and stopped at Ruby Beach, one of my favorite beaches on the Olympic Peninsula. The tide was very high, so the usually accessible haystack rocks were surrounded by water.

From Ruby, we went to Beach #1, which has a meandering trail through forest of Sitka Spruces with distinctive burls caused by unknown damage to the tress long ago. It’s suspected that an invasion of bud worms carrying a virus caused the burls, which are tumor-like growths where cell reproduction happened at an extremely accelerated rate compared to the rest of the tree.

On the way back home, we encountered wildly different weather patterns. Before we hit Hoquiam, a tremendous downpour in dramatically lit skies resulted in one of the most vivid rainbows I’ve ever seen. Driving along the coast is an amazing day trip and is the perfect remedy for clearing end of the quarter stresses from my thoughts. I wish I would have done this last weekend, too. Sometimes, it’s good to feel small.

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