Olympic Coast Hike, Part 2

The Ozette to Rialto hike is one of many routes you can take on Washington’s Olympic coast, and it travels north to south. Shannon had originally wanted us to hike farther north to Shishi(pronounced shy-shy) beach for this trip, which is also part of Olympic National Park. The areas that surround Shishi, however, are Makah Indian reservation lands, which were closed due to Covid-19. Rather than detail out our route here, I’ll include the whole thing, with distances, on the resources page.

From our first night camp, we headed south on our 2nd day to Yellow Banks beach. Up to this point, we had not passed any water sources thus far, and were getting low on the water we’d brought. We reached Yellow beach within an hour or two of setting out, and found the stream soon after. We also found tide pools and some incredible sea life

Sea anemone and starfish at yellow banks beach
The rocky coast caused a lot of trouble for sailors a couple hundred years ago

I’m not gonna lie…. the 5 miles or so past Yellow Banks Beach was not easy. We found ourselves navigating piles of slippery kelp that had washed up onshore, which often was laid upon large boulder fields that we needed to cross. This was often interspersed with rock fields that were about the size of baseballs and soccer balls, with no footing between. We had to do some climbing up and down rocks with our packs, and we both had minor slip-and-falls in this area. We enjoyed the challenge, and the scenery was worth the trouble. We had read many accounts of other people warning against doing this hike if you have any physical limitations at all. We were expecting it to be difficult in spots. What I wasn’t expecting, was that the difficult spots would be back to back to back for this entire stretch. This is not a complaint, but rather, another opportunity to provide valuable information.

Boulder field.
She’s absolutely gorgeous! But watch your step.

We’d been planning to make it to the landmark for the Norwegian memorial on our 2nd day, however, we accidentally let the tide creep up on us in a spot that rendered us stuck for the night. It was dinnertime anyway, so we plopped down on some rocks out on the beach, and Shannon dug out a level grid for our tent. At first the spot didn’t seem to be ideal, and we expected early morning hikers to walk right past our tent as we were smack dab in the middle of the trail route. But there was a steep ridge above us that we were able to climb to watch another spectacular sunset.

Sunset from (somewhere between) Yellow Banks beach and the Norwegian memorial
View from the top of the ridge. Being stuck has it’s perks.
He can figure absolutely anything out in a tough spot. With a good attitude. We had a comfortable night’s sleep.

Once the tide started going back out and the moon came up, it was fun to explore the sea life around the rocks. We found sea anemone, crabs, and chiton embedded in the rocks. These are not things we’re used to seeing at home, and we found them to be fascinating.

The next day, was day 3 of our hike. We set out over some more rocky terrain which after a short while, eased onto a beautiful beach known as Kayostia.

Wading in this cold water felt great on sore calf muscles from the day before
We were happy to see the rocky terrain disappear for a bit.

From here, there are several landmarks to watch for including the Norwegian memorial, which marks the site of many lost souls from a ship that crashed onto the rocks in the 1800’s. Beyond it is an old Starbuck mine site, and then a saddle on a point called Coastie Head that is recommended to climb due to the views. We were glad we did climb up to the top of Coastie Head and look out, as the views were spectacular. From here, was the start of the Quillayute needles that are said to resemble Stonehenge or a giant’s graveyard.

These “needles” are what this coast is best known for. Pieces of land that have been eroded by the sea.

Our 3rd and final night was spent on a beach near the Chilean memorial. This night, we were joined by a little mouse who decided to spend his time chewing on a little plastic bottle of ghee. We both heard it and woke many times to attempt to find and rid ourselves of the culprit. It wasn’t until morning that Shannon found the bottle that now had a mouse sized hole in it. Shannon promptly poured out the remainder of the ghee onto a spot that the mouse and his friends could enjoy the following night.

3rd night camp somewhere just past the Chilean memorial

Dehydrated hiking meals are fine. Just add water. After 4 days of those, the beauty and value of a big juicy burger with fries, and a shake, right off the trail ,cannot be understated! Not only is the 3-Rivers Resort conveniently located about a mile from the Rialto trail head, but it is also semi-famous, being featured in the Twilight movies. They feature burgers such as the Edward (you get the idea).

We had the cheeseburgers, and also had giant milkshakes mixed with some candy bars, and a basket of fries. It was everything we wanted it to be!

This was truly an incredible hike, an outstanding adventure, and stands as our favorite trip to date!!

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