This past weekend we went for a hike at Damon Point in Ocean Shores. We read about the hike in our book on day hikes in the Olympic Peninsula. But when we got there, there weren't any signs that indicated where the park was, and no spot seemed quite like the trailhead as mentioned. The road to the trail head ended suddenly at the beach, and sitting beside the road was this public restroom--only imagine a public restroom on its cement foundations plucked up from the ground, the entrance now eight feet or so up in the air. We had to walk a ways to get to the beach (could've jumped down but Jane was in the back pack). We wandered around wondering where to start, and finally started on the north shore of the point, following the guide book as best we could. We walked along the beach, and right away I had a weird feeling. I wondered how far out the point went. The marks in the sand showed where water had rum across the entire point and I wondered if it was covered during high tide. You know, motherworry, like, are we going to get stranded at the tip of the point when the tide rises? How many teething biscuits have I got? I could keep feeding Jane even if I couldn't eat. Just your typical maternal paranoia. But it was very hard to read the environment. There were people clamming and strolling along the beach where we began, but no one really where we were headed. It was very quiet. At one point Matt decided to walk up the small incline to the center of the point and see what he could see.
And what do you think he saw?
I can't really explain why, but it was shocking. Exciting. So that's what the note about flood damage in 2007 must have meant. This is the beginning of the road we were meant to have taken to the trail head, as it stands now. And this is the view where the road used to be:
It's not often in life you have the chance to be so curious, and to follow your curiosity. So we did.
That bend in the road certainly made it more beguiling. And somehow I found the bike lane hilarious. It was certainly very quiet, and I kept listening for cars and turning around as we walked up the road. But we weren't alone.
I guessed it was deer scat. But then--were those feathers? That would be a small carnivore, or a big bird. My mind flashed to sixth grade when we dissected owl pellets, and if Jane hadn't been there (she needs to keep moving) I would have squatted down and taken them apart. We kept on down the road, which was more and more engulfed by the natural world.
At this point I think I was saying "This is eerie," about every three minutes. The high vegetation was giving me a Children of the Corn kind of feeling. Children of the Scotch Broom? Then we found some bigger scat, with more distinctive feathers.
Accordingly, we wandered down a trail back to the beach. A relief, because we were sheltered from the ocean breezes and were getting quite hot.
We came to a small point where some little birds were bobbing about. We first identified them as sandpipers, but they may have been snowy plovers. Damon Point is apparently one of the last breeding places for these rare birds--who are not pictured here because I didn't want to scare them and my camera couldn't handle the challenge. As we walked along Matt gasped, which isn't really his style. But I don't blame him.
First of all, this is a large bird. I wish I'd put my foot in the photo for perspective. We think it is a surf scoter, which is about 17" long. Also, this was fresh carnage. Fresh, I tell you. The entrails and a large clump of downy underfeathers were several feet off. Who does that? Not deer. Matt pointed out that a seagull would do it. But who killed it? It didn't look particularly sick or injured (I mean, previous to its demise) to me. At this point I really had the heebie jeebies. Nevertheless, that part of me kicked in that wants nothing better than to examine the scene thoroughly. Instead, we headed back to the shore via the beach. Past this, which was about eight feet high.
This hike--shades of Dali, honestly. (And not really much of a "hike.") See the porpoise? See the footprints? Someone else had walked that way that day, which increased the sense of mystery for me, but also made me more comfortable. Eventually we found a spot to stop which wasn't too windy and had a snack. Jane stretched her legs. Very much needed.
She played in the sand, and dug up a colony of GIANT sand fleas.
So that solved one mystery. Yes, there are deer on Damon Point. Looking at Google maps helped us fully visualize the lay of the land.
View Larger Map
And my sister, our Washington wildlife guru, verified that the damage was done during the 2007 storm. A long day, but a good day. Stay tuned for our next adventure... Please comment if you have a day hike in Washington to suggest!
NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this post. I've been trying to get it done for days and I just don't care anymore!!!!