What the Forks?

We’ve spent the last few days in the Forks region. Forks being the place that the Twilight series is set in. We’re staying in a little town called La Push (population approx 350) that is actually the home of the Quileute Nation (Indian reservation). It’s a Sovereign Nation, so they have their own government – a Tribal Council. They run a oceanside resort and RV park that has a nice beachside holiday feel to it. There’s the RV park portion, cabins and a motel. We’re in a room in the motel and all rooms have a balcony looking out onto First Beach. In hindsight we probably could’ve based ourselves out of here as everything in Olympic is about a 1.5 – 2 hour drive from here. It would’ve been a fairly long drive from the airport though. The whole of La Push is in the Quileute Nation. There’s one restaurant and a small grocery store in terms of catering for tourists. Anything else is a drive back to Forks. Every room/cabin is self contained though. In fact tonight we’re going to eat in. Still minimal cooking but we have a roast chicken (already cooked), salad, potato and onion.

First Beach, La Push. This is where we’re staying.
Fires and fireworks permitted
Sunset over First Beach

So other than that, what’s been happening? Originally we’d planned on doing a longish hike on the day we moved over to Forks, but I did some shuffling, as it was going to be just over a 2 hour drive followed by a 9 mile hike. A hike which was dependent on the tide. So instead on driving day we drove on down to the Hoh Rainforest. It’s a rainforest climate and the token visitor walk is the Hall of Mosses trail. A short loop where you walk through the floor, with spruce and maple trees growing/hanging over tendrils of moss hanging down. Fungus growing on trunks and ferns all over. We also walked a bit up the Hoh River Trail. That whole trail goes for 17+ miles on way so we just said walk for 20 minutes and turn back. It was similar scenery but I can understand why people say to walk some of it at least. It’s definitely has less people through it so has a more untouched feeling to it.

Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest slug

Finishing up at the Hoh we headed on down the coast to Ruby Beach. The low tide had already happened a few hours ago but it was still down low enough for us to walk out to some rocks and look at starfishes and anenomes. Then we head on back towards La Push with a side trip by Rialto Beach. We couldn’t go out to Hole In The Wall as the tide was definitely on the way up by now. You’re probably wondering why I’ve mentioned the tide quite a bit. The tide change here is probably more so then we’re used to in Australia so you’ve got to make sure you don’t get trapped by the rising tide. As in some places you’ll be stuffed or you’ll have to wait it out. Along the coast at certain places there’s markers to mark where you can up if you’re caught by an incoming tide.

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Starfish in tide pool, Ruby Beach.
Rialto Beach

Which brings us to todays hike. The Ozette Loop. A 9.2 mile loop hike that has 3.1 miles down on the beach between Cape Alava and Sand Point. You’ve got to time this hike around the low tide as otherwise it’s not accessible. Apparently there is a way to hike it overland if necessary (and we did see some of the markers), but that’s no fun. So with the high tide being at 5 something AM, we set our alarm clocks for 5:45AM. It was just under a 2 hour drive there and we we’re on the trail by a bit after 8AM. The ‘beach’ isn’t what we’re use to back home. It’s more rocks, pebbles, some sand and driftwood. So the 3.1 miles over that was slow going. As we got close to Sand Point we started seeing non human tracks in the sand. Bird maybe? Nah probably looks like a dog, nothing to worry about (even though dogs aren’t allowed on trails). Hmm what’s that? Ahh a deer. I’m not to freaked out about deer as they don’t have antlers or horns, but still nonetheless a safe distance was kept. Rounding Sand Point we had to start finding our way back onto the trail. We managed to find a marker which seemed to be in roughly the right location, so off we went. Yep correct trail.

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The beach
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If you stuff your tide timings up, a scramble up on of these will be necessary.
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Driftwood, lots of it.

Tonight I’m going to see if my fire starting skills work – you’re allowed to have fires on the beach here. Also let of fireworks. We’ve decided to skip the firework portion and just go for fire. Tomorrow we’re on the road again as we’re heading over to Mt Rainier. Apparently the weather is supposed to be somewhat crazy with like 35+ temperatures! Might also be internetless for the next 5 days unless there’s free Wi-Fi. Definitely no internet for the first 3 nights in Mt Rainier.

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