I may be a bit (okay a lot) late with this one, but somehow it got pushed off to the side and forgot about. That’s simply not acceptable, because this was an AWESOME trip that took this summer out on the Olympics.
This trip started out with a nice little evening ferry ride in Vanatoli over to Port Townsend. With our wheels then firmly planted on the Olympic Peninsula we made a break for Port Angeles to call the parking lot at the Olympic Nation Park Center our home for the night.
Apparently, everyone else was watching the same weather we were that previous week because WOW was it crowded in the morning. Luckily we were on it, and with our overnight permits in hand we hopped back in Vanatoli and headed for Neah Bay. I’ve done the Shi Shi beach trail before, but this was a little gem that I knew Auden and Kim would just die for.
We went through the normal ritual of stopping in the Makah Tribe for our yearly Makah permit, then barely squeezing into a parking spot at one of the overnight parking locations. I have to take a minute and say that the Makah people have been so kind. There is no overnight parking at the trailhead so you’re basically parking in someone’s lawn, lol. Yes, they do charge $10 per day, but it feels good to be able to help bring these kind people some extra income. They’re always super courteous, and are now even bringing in porta-potties during the busy season.
With our packs loaded we were off! The trail is a VERY easy hike having almost zero elevation gain. I don’t remember if I recorded my tracks or not, but if memory serves me right it’s about 3mi to the beach, and then another 2mi or so down the beach to the better camping spots. Spirits were high and I was so happy to see Kim and Auden’s eyes light up when we popped out of the woods and onto the beach. It’s such a beautiful place, and on a nice sunny day there’s no better place to be (well… on the flatlands that is, haha).
We hiked down the beach for 45min or so and finally decided on a nice little cozy campsite just up in the trees about 15ft. It had some nice make shift log benches, firepit, and a perfect little flat spot for our 3 person tent. These little spots are what I love so much about Shi Shi beach. They’re a great place for you to tuck in out of the wind yet still be mere feet from the sand in your toes.
The rest of the day and evening were great. We played made up games on the beach, card games, played in the sand, threw rocks, chased the tides, and it was one of the most enjoyable relaxing days I’ve had in a long time. After a wonderful little fire, and some funny bed time stories we closed our eyes on an absolutely perfect day.
Up fairly early the next morning we were all packed up and headed north back down the beach quite quickly. Everyone is doing a great job of getting their backpacks packed properly and it’s really showing. Kelp seemed to be the entertainment of the morning as we played a game of stabbing them with our trekking poles and dragging them for miles down the beach. I’ve always enjoyed these creative little games that kids come up with when the iPads, Xboxes, and TV are miles and miles away.
We made it back to the car far ahead of schedule which was really nice! After unpacking all our gear and getting the van back re-organized we hit the road going east again headed somewhat back where we came from. At this point we still had about a day and a half left on our trip so we opted to stop at the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, WA. It’s a small game farm that you can drive through and see all the animals. This turned out to be of far more entertainment value than I had expected. You see they’ve got it all setup to where you can purchase loafs of bread to feed the animals. Some animals, like the bears, were not interested in the bread one bit. Other animals would only show mild interest. Then there were the Bison. These big breathing carcasses of snot would chase your ass down to get as much as they could. We howled with laughter as their MASSIVE tongues lashed out through the van window grasping for any little piece of bread they could snag. I was actually a bit concerned about Vanatoli at this point, but luckily we made it out with only large slobber art down the side of the van and no permanent damage.
After some must-have ice cream we got back on the road and headed for Port Angeles. Auden had seen our pictures of Fort Worden from a previous trip that Kim and I took and really wanted to check out the fort. We parked the van in town that night, and got a nice early morning start for our hike through Fort Worden. Just like last time it was awesome! It’s fun to watch his eyes dance about as were hiking through the old structures. It’s almost like you can see his little brain recreating what he thinks it would look like. After hiking the large loop around the entire fort it was time to catch the ferry back home. We got lucky and with no reservation managed to almost drive right on with little to no wait.
Mark this one down as another great Lenn family adventure! It feels so good to get out and see the beautiful PNW and share as many of these wonderful places with my family as possible. Hard to say where the next one will take us, but I can’t wait to find out!