It often starts with a photo. A photo of a place that seems so unreal, I need to see it for myself. And sometimes, that is how I plan our summer trips back to Washington. Luckily for us, there is so much to see in the Pacific Northwest that our annual summer trips to visit family don’t feel the same every year. It’s enabled us to travel affordably and still feel like we got away. And Cape Flattery? It’s one of those places that we keep saying we should visit, even when we lived in Washington. But honestly? I’m not sure I would have appreciated it as much when I was younger. There’s something about having lived through all the challenges of life that come with age and experience, including suffering through life tragedies, that make you appreciate a place so other worldly. And even sitting here back in my apartment in NYC, I sometimes look at these photos and think…was this place real?
These spots on the Washington Coast (Shi Shi beach is pictured below) is remote because access to these views and beaches are accessible only by hiking in. The trails are old growth forests – some through Indian reservation land which requires a permit from the Makah tribe. We did both hikes in a single day which may have been a bit ambitious with 2 kids considering the trail down to Shi Shi Beach was a few miles ending in a steep climb. But there is nothing like seeing the first glimpse of the ocean through a clearing between the trees after having hiked a few miles (and having no real markers on the trail!).
Cape Flattery…when I finally saw the cliffs and sea stacks, it overwhelmed me. We got there during golden hour, at the end of a very long and tiring day and I really wanted to stay for sunset to watch the water, the sky and the cliffs change with the light, but we reluctantly left with about an hour to go before the sun would dip below the ocean. But this isn’t going to be my last visit, and I’ll come at a different time of day to see how the light and weather changes the view. Even now, as I feel overwhelmed with everyday life, I’m clinging to these photos because they’re giving me life. Melodrama aside, I continue to seek out big nature, if only to remind myself that the world is bigger than me.