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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

a Pacific Northwest road trip, part IV: Second Beach

The hike from the highway to Second Beach is only .7 miles, but it sure is a dramatic .7 miles. The trail starts on the Quileute Native Nation reservation but finishes on official Olympic National Park territory. 

The trail winds past towering Sitka spruce trees (which my husband just had to climb) with gnarled and knotted limbs growing beards of bright green moss. The trail begins to switch back as it nears the Pacific, and breathtaking views of the ocean and sea stacks appear (if  the fog cooperates) from in between branches. 
And while the short hike down is stunning, nothing beats actually strolling along Second Beach. 

From the fog covered shore (fog seems to be Second Beach's favorite outfit), the ocean appears to be punctuated with infinite sea stacks. Some are tall and jagged. Others are short and wide. Some are covered in tall lush trees. Others are naked. 

When the thick fog lifts, even if only for a few seconds, a ginormous sea stack or a group of smaller sea stacks appear. Then, as quickly as they appeared, they are swallowed up again by the blanket of fog that seems to forever hover over this region of Washington State. 

I don't care how many times I say it: there is nothing more beautiful or mysterious or intriguing than a rugged, fog covered, rocky Pacific Northwest Beach. Or maybe I only think that because this is my true home.  

While I have many favorite Washington State beaches, this one is my secret favorite favorite. I've been to Second Beach quite a few times, but every time feels like the first time. I am still awed by the sea stacks emerging from the fog. I still need to pluck up the courage to climb the tallest sea stack on the beach so I can enjoy the best views.

And I hope that never changes. 

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