Last week we spent four lovely days at the coast away from computers and cell phones. Nothing but warm sunshine, extended walks on deserted beaches bordered by mounds of driftwood and old spruce trees. An occasional sea otter, tufted puffin or sea lion flanked our stride in the waves as we strolled along.
For our first camping getaway this year we decided for a beach-fix choosing Kalaloch with its six beaches to explore, each strikingly different. Although one of the most visited areas of Olympic National Park, during this off season we were able to enjoy a campsite with an ocean view, complete with fire-ring and picnic table. And while the days were warm, the evening campfire was inviting.
Though two of the six beaches are named, South Beach and the ever-popular Ruby Beach, the other four are numbered, Beach 1, Beach 2, Beach 3 and Beach 4. Ruby Beach is named for garnet crystals in its sand and obviously South Beach, as its the most southern in the park. But didnt the Native Americans have unique names for the others? My internet research hasnt revealed any but Im not giving up on this question.
These coastal waters are protected by the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and three wildlife refuges. The sea stacks along these 135 miles of coastline are nesting havens for birds like tufted puffins and common murres. In the kelp beds surrounding these seas stacks we saw sea otters munching on their favorite fare, sea urchins.
Kalaloch Lodge is an easy stroll from the campground and was perfect for dining on that night I didnt feel like cooking. One of many stately lodges within the park, it was built in 1953. Constructed of red-cedar inside and out, the dining room has immense windows taking in the vast ocean view. We enjoyed dining on fresh halibut as we watched the sun sink into the big blue.
We hiked each beach at least twice and spent hours poking around the tide pools at low tide. Beach 3 and 4 have some of the best tidepools on the coast with green anemone, sun stars of various colors, sea urchins and an array of tiny crab and fish. After spending several hours captivated by these critters I realized that while I was mesmerized and photographing, the tide had come in and I was stranded on the rocks. Luckily on an outgoing wave, the water was only thigh high and I could wade across to the beach. Note to self, next time check the tide chart!