Cape Alava

2009 Coast Cleanup

APRIL 17 -19, 2009  A Mountaineers backpack to Cape Alava for the 2009 Coast Savers Beach Cleanup.  The drive from the Kingston Ferry Terminal takes about 3 1/2 hours, and it rained almost the entire way to the Ozette Ranger Station.  But like magic, the weather cleared as soon as we reached the trailhead, and our hike in to Cape Alava was beautiful and uneventful.  There were 8 of us on this trip, but we found a campsite with stunning views that was large enough to accommodate 8 tents.   We made the trek  north from our camp site to visit the memorial/museum at the Ozette Village archeological and another half mile or so beyond, then returned to our camp for dinner.  I carried in a small backpacking grill and charcoal, and dinner included smoked sausage and toasted marshmallows.  After a cozy campfire on the beach, we were ready to call it a night. 

Our morning wake up call was delivered by a bald eagle, and the early risers among us were treated to the sight of a coyote running down the beach.  It was a beautiful, well nourished animal, and it is a sight I will not soon forget.  The chipmunks and squirrels that visited our campsite were bold, diving right into our circle to try to filtch food.   We planned to hike south to Sandpoint to collect trash, but since low tide wasn't until around 2:30, we took our time getting ready to leave.  Collecting marine debris from the beach felt like a scavenger hunt, and we enjoyed the challenge of finding creative ways to pack out as much trash as possible. We took a long break to explore the Wedding Rocks and found many of the petroglyphs. At Sandpoint, we headed back into the woods and hiked out to the Ranger Station. We removed a large amount of debris from the beach--I would estimate we turned in at least 250 pounds. Those ropes in particular are heavy!  We were tired by the time we completed the 9.2 mile loop and returned to our camp at Cape Alava for another night. We heard sea lions on the distant rocks and had another campfire, albeit small.  Another wakeup call by bald eagles, another leisurely morning, and another uneventful hike out.  But one more treat was in store for us at the trailhead:  One of the rangers had captured a hummingbird in their workshop, and he showed it to us before setting it free.  It was richly colored, like expensive silk, and lightening fast when it flew away. 

Approximately 18 miles

Minimal elevation gain