September 25, 2017

Miles: 10

PNT mile 1199.5

Camp: Hole In The Wall – Olympic National Park Wilderness Coast

As the weather forecast promised, rain arrived around 2am. It was gentle and didn’t seem to last very long,  though there was a healthy mist when we woke up. It was a wet camp again, coupled with sand to present us with an interesting new challenge. The 3 of us were a focused group getting gear situated before we sat down to breakfast. Even with the extra work this morning, we were on trail by 7:15. Not an easy order for us, but getting up before dawn is a rare necessity that sometimes has to be accepted (and though Pink hates it, I love it).

The 3 of us walked together along the beach, chatting and inspecting tidepools. The mist never stopped, but it ebbed and flowed with intensity. There were giant whale bones around one point and we stopped for some pictures and sheer awe. Those things are massive, and really quite heavy.

The overland trails were pretty muddy making for some interesting ascents and descents via ropes. Some slick spots had my heart racing, but I used patience and caution, making it safely each time. Pink always makes it look so easy. He has much longer limbs than I, it’s hard to compete with! His height can be a real advantage and his energy seems to be limitless. In the meantime I just take quicker steps and keep up the best I can.

The beach was a fine display of mixed seaweeds, unique rocks, decaying sea life, plastic and a variety of driftwood. The plastic is unsettling and sometimes more out of place than you would think. We even found a dish rack a restaurant would use for glassware just laying on the shore, covered in seaweed. Our trash in the oceans problem is serious.

Looking beyond the trash was a beautiful landscape though. Coastal fog draped over rock pillars and islands in the sea, trees and cliffs outlined the shore and the lapping and crashing of waves made audio contributions; deep and rhythmic, percussive as it drew back over the rocks.

The mist turned into sometimes rain and we got wetter and muddier. We took a quick snack break in the trees when a couple happened upon us. The guy, “Neon,” just finished the PCT and was quick to offer us a ride from the trailhead to the post office…to a restaurant and then back to the trail. We piled 3 hikers in the backseat with wet backpacks and got everything done quickly. We were not able to dry our tents though…a lingering chore we knew was unlikely to occur.

Once we said goodbye to Neon and Kat, we hopped on trail to walk the beach north. There are less than 20 miles remaining, but it will take 2 full days with tides and rocky shores. Today we only went a few more miles where we found Thumbs at a campsite at Hole in the Rock. The rain continued as we set up already wet tents on the beach, trying to avoid sand and water from getting on everything. It wasn’t easy, but I’m dry at the moment. Not much else is though.

We have 8 miles tomorrow, only having to worry about tides in a few locations. Some spots have an overland “alternate,” but some could leave you stranded. It’s a new game, a puzzle to solve every day of how far can we get to the next tide sensitive spot before we have to wait it out. It’s fun but also a little stressful. I think we will do great and it feels good to be with Gerry and Thumbs here at the end. What a journey.