Along the northern coast in Washington state lies a long and remote stretch of beautiful coast known as Shi Shi Beach. A hike that cannot be overstated as it’s easily my favorite place to be in the natural world. The views are otherworldly. The sounds of the waves continuously crashing is enticing. I found myself swirling with joy and taking in 360 views often. This is one of those hikes where time simply stops.
I almost feel guilty calling this a hike. I’ve spent all summer finding the hardest and steepest hikes that I could find but this one is different. The total mileage for the day was 12 miles but the elevation gain is a mere 200 feet. The first mile had ample soggy wooden pathways and bridges and the beach part was a casual stroll. The only issue is the mud. It’s the worse I’ve ever encountered. A good portion can be somewhat bypassed or otherwise avoided but there are parts that are unavoidable and proper gear is required. I wore my gaiters from the onset of the hike after reading the trail reports and didn’t regret having them on even once. A gentlemen we met on the trail even complimented them and remarked how he too should have brought his along.
The drive to the beach had Felix questioning what we were doing driving four hours to hike on the coast when a 30 percent chance of rain had turned into 100 percent and had left our spirits as damp as the forest surrounding us. In Washington there’s always a chance it’s going to rain, even in the middle of summer. This is a northwest fact that you simply get used to. But when the sun decided to grace us with her presence we had no complaints. A warm autumn day on the Washington coast is winning the lottery.
I had hopes of doing the relatively short 1 mile hike to Cape Flattery after having a blast at Shi Shi. My hiking companion Felix was having none of it. He had injured himself as he does on most of our hikes and was quickly breaking down. I will give him credit though because, like an old Toyota pick up, he’ll keep going until the wheels fall off. I will certainly be back in the area again to backpack and explore again.
On our way back we drove through Port Angeles and the signs for Hurricane Ridge were beckoning us to visit. It was apparent that sunset wasn’t far off so we sped up the mountain while passing the cars trickling off the ridge. We were the only one’s going up and as I’m smashing on the pedal to beat mother nature, to get that last view before the lights are turned off, I’m glimpsing the snow capped peaks suddenly and majestically behind the trees. The photos I took were few and far between. Sometimes you simply have to enjoy the moment. It was also 30 degrees on a ridge line. It was a very long but epic adventure. A burrito from this place and a ferry ride back to round out a day well spent.