Touring and Scouting Day in Neah Bay
August 2, 2019 – A cool and cloudy morning. Made coffee, took a walk on the beach, then made and ate breakfast. Tried to move to my favorite Hobuck Beach campsite but some young whipersnappers snagged it when they saw the people camping there begin to break camp. I felt old and slow. I am happy with the campsite that is. It will be a longer haul out to the water and that’s ok.
After Uncle cleaned up the breakfast dishes we headed out to the Cape Flattery trail with Gaston in tow. The three of us hiked out to the end of the cape and I studied the water. It was really rockin’ and a rollin’. It was sunny and windy, with probably four foot swells. It was about an hour and a half into the flood tide so you could still see the rocks/reefs that were exposed and getting smashed with big waves. I imagined myself paddling on that water… No terror check. Nervousness check. Excitement check. I’ve been in water like that several times on this trip and others, just not with all those rocks and little entrances the swells can shove you into.
But my was it gorgous. I really want to paddle in the areas where the kelps are. They are calmer. Monday’s forecast is still looking doable, and now I have one person who will paddle it with me. I charted it out again today and it is a little over 14 miles from Hobuck to my takeout in Neah Bay. 14-mile paddles have become shorties for me. With any luck, taking it nice and easy in the bigger conditions will turn it into a lovely full day paddle.
After the walk to the cape we went to the Makah Museum. I have been telling Uncle it is a must. I imagine most people who know me probably already know about it, but for those who don’t… One of the Makah villages, Ozette, experienced a large mudslide about 500 years ago, encapsulating some longhouses – a North American Pompei. By the late 1960s, the continuous bashing of the Pacific Ocean started to erode and expose the houses and their contents. Then ensued a combined effort between the Makah and other folks on an 11-year archeological oddysey.
I have difficulty fathoming the impact of emotion that had on the Makah. To learn about how your ancestors lived and thrived so specifically. To learn about how they all knew which wood worked best for which application, be it tool handles, fishing gear, clothing, art, etc., or how they developed their longhouse architecture to adapt so perfectly to this environment. I could go on and on, or I could just recommend you visit the museum. It’s a must.
On the way to and from the museum we scouted out my Neah Bay launch/take out beach nearby the musem and returned to a fully set camp. I made supper and charged electronics with the solar charger and now am wrapping up with my evening journal entry. The wind has died down, the sun is setting in a somewhat hazy sky, there is laughter coming from campsites all around me.
I have three segments of the SSJF left. I’ll paddle the two west entry ones tomorrow and Sunday, then the Port Angeles to Dungeness sometime later this week on the way to paddle Deception Pass. Then to make my way down the coast, and home.