Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Backpacking: Olympic Coast '10

I think it's time for another backpacking adventure recap.  This time I'm going to talk about our trip to the Olympic Peninsula.  

August 8-10, 2010

We wanted to do some sort of beach/coastal backpacking trip and I had never been to Washington's Olympic Peninsula. 

There are two main trips on the coast, the Northern Coast and the Southern Coast.  We did the Northern Coast which consists of 17.2 miles one way from Rialto Beach to Sand Point. 
This trip was actually a big step for us because it was my first multiple-day backpacking trip.
It was also our first chance to try out our new ultra-light gear.  I promise to share our gear with you soon! 

Our overall pack weight went from 40-45 pounds to a mere 20 pounds (including food, pads, sleeping bags, etc).  This was huge because caring a pack that is a lot lighter than normal allows you to travel farther without getting tired as fast AND your shoulders/back thank you later.

The first day we set out a little later than anticipated and this made our first day hiking a little more nerve-wracking than we wanted. We weren't sure what to expect for this hike and we were both very thankful that we bought trekking poles because many of the rocks we had to climb over were covered in algae. 
We got pretty good at climbing on slippery rocks on this trip. 

While we were hiking we saw a couple of red foxes race past on the beach. That was pretty awesome.

Since we left late that day we ended up racing the tide and daylight trying to find a campsite.  We both prayed that we would find a site before the night came.  God certainly answered prayers! In the last half hour of daylight we found our first campsite. We hiked 6 miles overall on the first day which was quite a bit less than we we originally planned to do.   I suggest really studying the tide chart before you head out on a coastal trip.

The second day our alarm didn't go off and so we woke up when we were planning to leave our campsite, which created a little bit of stress in the morning. 

We packed our campsite quickly and ate our breakfast (pop-tarts) on the run.  We were once again racing tides in the morning and ended up waiting in a cove for a little bit for the tides to go out. 

I started to get pretty bad blisters on my feet about halfway through the day (mostly because I forgot my insoles.  Stupid high arches.).  We weren't planning on going all the way to Sand Point, but somehow we ended up hiking 11 miles, in one day, non-stop all the way to Sand Point!

The beach there was gorgeous and the campsites were very cool.  We built our shelter right on the beach and we even had a table and chairs. 

Our shelter.  Nick loved it.  Me, not so much.
Fire next to the dining area :)

We walked barefoot for quite awhile and later climbed to the top of the hill at Sand Point and watched the ocean and some seagulls fighting over a dead seal carcass.  It was very peaceful and relaxing (minus the seagull drama, ha!).

On the third day we left pretty early.  Our goal was to reach the Norwegian campground because we heard it was a great place to camp.  We had a pretty nice hike and reached our destination point of 8 miles by 1:00 pm.  The campsites were endless here. 

We found one that was on the edge of the beach up in the forest.  There was a nice campfire area as well as a handmade toilet seat!  Ok, it was a little gross and neither of us used it.  I'm also bummed that I didn't get a picture of it!

Very crappy camera = not so good quality video

After we set up camp the sun finally graced us with its warmth for about 3 hours.  Woohoo!  Before this the sky was overcast the entire time.

We walked around the beach for quite some time and even enjoyed a short nap in the sun.  Around dinnertime we realized that we didn't pack enough food and we had to figure out a way to budget the rest of our food for the night and the journey home.  We still had 9 miles left to go.

We slept very well the last night and finally made our last journey to Rialto Beach.  By this time Alison's blisters were going crazy and Nick was starting to get a few.  It took us a little longer than planned and we somehow ended up racing tides (again) even though according to the tide chart we were 2 hours ahead of schedule.  I have no idea how this happened.  

By the end of the trip we were very hungry and tired, but very satisfied.
The trip was a great success and the only problem we had was being low on food.  We saw crazy amounts of bald eagles, four dead seals (which was very strange and gross), many live seals and even a couple of otters.

It was an awesome trip.


  1. I really really love this! I hope to go backpacking next summer, this really made me want to. :) Thanks for sharing.

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