Friday, September 11, 2020

Solo Backpacking!

 So exciting! My first ever solo backpacking trip. I picked the Ozette Triangle. I had been wanting to do this hike for many years, so it had been on my bucket list. Ryan was finishing the PNT trail and it ends at Cape Alava which is part of the Ozette Triangle. Ryan would be hiking out from Cape Alava. So I could hike out and camp and meet up with him on his last day. So that became our plan. Back country hiking and backpacking in Olympic National Park requires permits and that was challenging. I was lucky to get permits to camp at Sandpoint and at Wedding Rocks along this Triangle route.  And I was also required to have a bear canister. We have a large canister, but of course Ryan would be using it. And you can borrow one from the National Park service, but it is also a large one and much more than I would need. In fact, a large bear canister just fills up my small 40 liter backpack. After much searching, I was able to find a small canister (for not too much money) that could be sent to me in time for my hike. 

The Start of the Trail

The Triangle begins 

Nice and Flat
You still have to watch your step

The hike out to Sandpoint was so nice and flat along boardwalks. They were not very slippery the day I hiked out, but I am told that when it is wet, they can be treacherous. It was only 3 miles out to the ocean and the campsites. I wish I had weighed my pack before I started out. I will say that I was carrying 4 liters of water and that was a lot of weight, just under 9 pounds in water. 
Purple Mushroom

I love these boardwalks

My first view of the Pacific! 

Found a site and set up the tent

Lunch break, note the bear canister

view from my campsite

checking out the tidepools

Lots of trash on the beach

Pretty driftwood
And even the trash can be picturesque 

The sun came out in the afternoon and it turned into a pretty day. It was busy (labor day weekend) and there were lots of families with children and many groups of people camping along the beach.  The ranger came through about 3pm and was checking permits and making sure people had bear canisters. The ranger said that a male juvenile bear had been sighted to the north of Sandpoint and a mom and cub to the south.  I was lucky to see the male later that day. This is the best way to see a bear from very very far away!! LOL

Can you see the bear?
Can you see the bear? I'll zoom in...

Maybe you see the bear now?

There he is!!

I put the rain fly up on my tent, mainly for warmth overnight as it was not supposed to rain. And I had a nice evening reading books and writing postcards. When I got up to pee in the middle of the night, I saw that I had a visitor on my rain fly. A slug! 


The next day, I only had 1 1/2 miles to hike down to Wedding Rocks where I would camp again. Hiking along the beach was challenging. I had to go around two headlands at low tide, so I got an early start to the day to make sure I hit low tide. There are overland routes, but they can be like rock climbing and I had no desire to attempt that with a pack! Walking through thick sand, smelly kelp, slippery rocks and through shifting beach logs was not fun. 

So many of these plastic floats on the beach

Bear Scat 

A dead sea lion

My hiking pole is there for scale

A collection of floats

Hole in the rock

At high tide, there is an alternate route

pretty driftwood

Wedding Rocks

Wedding Rocks is famous for having native american petroglyphs. I was excited to camp there, which would give me time to hunt for them. The campsites are just north of the rock outcropping.  So I set up camp and went back to hike around the rocks and try to see some petroglyphs. And this is when my camera died. So I have no photos of the rest of my trip.  The camping area was very crowded and I am sure that there were folks camped there illegally. No ranger came by to check.  Also campfires were prohibited and people had campfires on the beach. All in all, it was not a fun place to camp with loud neighbors.

My last day, I started out super early, mainly because I had not gotten a good nights sleep and I did not want to slow down Ryan if he caught up with me. I had 4 1/2 miles to hike today. Ryan would be hiking from a campsite called Yellow Rocks that was south of Sand Point and he had about 9 miles to hike. The section from Wedding Rocks to Cape Alava was the hardest of the beach walk for me. There are several large trees that jut out into the water and you have to hike around them on slippery, slimy rocks. It is very slow going. It was a shame that my camera had died because today was very clear with great weather. I came upon an illegal campfire that was still smoldering and I was able to throw more sand on it to make sure it was out. What is wrong with people? Once I arrived at Cape Alava, it was teeming with people. (labor day weekend) Lots of families and day hikers. There is a water source and there was actually a line of people to get water from the creek. 

The boardwalk from Cape Alava back to the Ozette Ranger Station (and parking lot) was lots of up and down. Stairs and more stairs. It was definitely more arduous than the Sandpoint section. I got back to the car and was so happy to take off my hiking boots. I even drifted off to sleep as I waited for Ryan to catch up to me. He arrived only an hour behind me and we headed home together. 

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