Thursday, October 20, 2011

Boggy and the beach

Location: Neah Bay

Shi Shi Beach is said to be one of the region’s most spectacular beaches but it has been mired in problems since the idea of adding it to Olympic National Park first arose in the 1970s. Land-access disputes with the Makah Indian Tribe were finally settled in 1976 and the sandy beach with gorgeous sea stacks became a national treasure.

The 4-mile trail to access the beach is a boggy nightmare that leads you down a muddy road bed that only gets muckier and threatens to swallow your feet whole. The first mile treks through a Sitka spruce forest, which warrant more attention than hikers give it because so much of the focus is on staying afloat in the bog and praying for the occasional planked bridge.

In just under two miles, you reach the park boundary and begin descending a 150-foot bluff to the beach below. It’s a bit rough on the knees but the driftwood-littered beach is a hidden gem worth a little pain. The tide was coming in when we arrived and the Point of the Arches (sensational sea stacks) loomed down the beach.

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