Most epic backpacking

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The highlight of our vacation was a point to point backpacking trip along a part of the Washington coast which is only accessible by foot. We hiked from Oil City to Third Beach, for those of you curious. It’s 17.1 miles, we spent three nights on the trail.

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My parents and my sister and her husband were supposed to meet us for the trip. My brother-in-law came down with some nasty fever bug and had to stay home, poor guy.

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Because of his sickness, we got a later start than we had wanted, and only ended up going about a mile before camping along the coast in a huge mass of driftwood near the mouth of the Hoh river. I didn’t get a picture of our campsite, but it was pretty cool, just enough room for a tent in amongst the largest collection of driftwood I’ve ever seen. For anyone who might stumble upon this post researching the Oil City to Hoh river route, the ranger said that this driftwood is not always open enough to find a sandy camping spot – it depends on the year. But, they do check it out, and they even had pictures of it from year to year to show us at the ranger station in Port Angeles. There was also one camp site along the trail by the river before it reaches the ocean.

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We arrived at camp just as the sun was setting. There’s nothing like an ocean sunset. And we saw three gorgeous ones.
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The next morning we got up 5:30 so we could catch the 6:45 low tide another half mile down the beach so we could get around an impassable headland. It is not light at 5:30AM.

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Happily, it did get barely light by time we packed up and reached the boulders we had to scramble over. This was a pretty long stretch of boulders to jump around on. Happily they were not slippery. I’m not sure how we could have managed with our big packs if they’d been slick.
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After breakfast on the next beach, we faced our next obstacle. A ladder up the side of an impassable headland! You know how pictures never look as steep as real life? That remains true of this picture.
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After the ladder there were plenty of three foot tall steps, some missing, and lots of mud. The weary travelers break for some lunch on a log, spirits still high. Again, for those researching the route, there wasn’t really anywhere to camp on Jefferson Cove – the tide comes right up to the cliffs. There were, however, at least two campsites we saw up on top of Hoh head.
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Stay tuned for the next segment. I think eight pictures in one post is probably enough…


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September 2013
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