1. After a soggy night camping at the edge of Lake Crescent, we started early the next morning and continued our drive West on 101 to the Washington Coast. We began at First Beach (it made sense). The rain which we had awoken to had dissipated to a light mist, and the fog that hugged the beach was bright and hid the haystacks that rose up from the coastal waters. Being the only people around, we spent time walking the beach taking photos, observing the roaming clusters of seagulls, and climbing on an enormous tree trunk as the fog began to slowly thin. As the cloud over us retreated back out to sea, the colors began to come out; the toffee tones of the sea stacks, the deep green of the spruce trees atop them, the thick algae covering the old dock supports, and the faint patches of blue sky all seemed to come awake simultaneously. It was almost as if Nature was slowly and unknowingly undressing in front of us, the seagulls and I silent witnesses to the disrobing. All we could do was pause and stare like peeping Toms as she removed the frosty dawn to expose the soft pale glow of day beneath.
2. The couple mile hike through forested trees lead us to Second Beach; the Goldilocks of the beaches if you ask the Washington Trails Association. The trail is just long enough to keep it secluded and less frequented, but contains sea stacks as well as an natural arch in the rock a short ways North of where the trail feeds to the beach. We spotted several tents as we walked along the coastline, although camping is not technically allowed there. However, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of envy towards the people nestled inside. Falling to sleep with the uninterrupted and rolling sound of waves and awakening to the occasional call of sea birds seems incredible to me; to open your tent to feel cool sea spray on your face. To me, that is living the life.
3. I don’t consider myself a religious person, but standing there on the huge expanse of a beach, I kept thinking “this is what Heaven would look like”: calming bright white light and the slow, hollow hum of the ocean all around truly made me feel at peace. We were literally the only two on the beach, and it felt like we were the only two in the world. Because of the fog and mist, visibility was low, but every now and then we could see the faint and distant silhouette of each other. I wish I had taken a video of this location so I could revisit that heavenly feeling I experienced while standing here. It felt other-worldly and yet so comforting.
4. After hiking back up through the wooded trail, we hopped back into the car and headed down Mora Road to Rialto Beach. We were greeted almost immediately out of the parking lot by a large island sea stack called James Island. Admittedly it is absolutely stunning, however it is also the standard and quintessential photo that is taken from this beach. Instead: my favorite sea stack from our visit to Rialto and on our two-mile hike along the shoreline to Hole in the Wall. We were lucky in that we had no trouble with high or rising tides or in crossing Ellen Creek (which at the time was more like a small pool rather than an actual flowing creek) and arrived at Hole in the Wall in time for the sun to start burning through the thicker layer of fog.
This was a beautiful day because not only was I reminded to appreciate these protected lands, but also that I need to take time to recognize and truly acknowledge how incredible nature is and what it’s capable of. Only when you stand next to something colossal that has taken thousands of years to form, can you truly grasp how small and fragile we truly are.