Far off the semi-beaten path of Highway 101, near the northwestern corner of the state of Washington, lies Lake Ozette and the Sand Point trail. It’s a ways from the usual tourist stomping grounds, but there are few places a person can go to better witness the Washington coast in all its raging, primal beauty. Lake Ozette itself is a good place to visit in itself, but today I’m going to cover the Sand Point trail and the rugged beach it leads to.
The Sand Point trail represents 3 miles’ worth of the 9 mile Ozette Loop trail. My intent upon visiting Lake Ozette was to do the whole loop, but the rain started dumping heavily on me at the end of the Sand Point trail, and I was ill-prepared to keep my camera safe from the elements. (A little-known fact is that the full extent of the Northwest Nomad’s hiking preparations generally consist of him running towards his destination with tongue flying in the wind like an idiot dog.)
Anyway, all is well, because the Sand Point trail itself was a good walk, and the Northwest Nomad escaped with his camera and his fantastic, artful, brilliant, sensitively gorgeous photographs intact. His humility survived, as well! Worry not, fair readers. Worry NOT!
To your right, my dear friend, you see a wooden walkway that represents the makeup of roughly a quarter of the Sand Point trail. The rest of the trail is a regular sort of National Park trail over the forest floor, but in the first portion of the walk is designed by National Park Service to keep your feetsies dry (thank you, Big Brother, ha!).
I’m not sure if the trail gets flooded by Lake Ozette floodwaters or if there’s some other explanation for the ground’s rather aqueous influence, but I could see in the vegetation composition that the ground there is frequently wet. Why else would they build a wooden footbridge, anyway? This isn’t rocket science, people!
The trail was nice and quiet while I walked, and I didn’t see a single other hiker on that stretch. It’s 3 miles out and 3 back, and I didn’t see one other person on either the going-out or the coming-back leg. I was there in January, so I’m not sure if it’s always so little-traveled.
Regardless, one thing I know for sure is that it leads to one of the best beaches I’ve ever found in Washington state. I’d rate it right up there with La Push and higher than the always-awesome Ruby Beach.
I wandered that beach for about half an hour and only left when the rain blew in and drove me out. Truly it was a transcendent experience of nature’s awesome power. The place looks like it was just blasted out of the side of the Earth by waves less than a week ago. The wounded land is raw, and the ocean’s power immense. I’m pretty sure if I stood there much longer I would have torn off my clothes and run off to live naked and free in those savage lands, living for only a few days, certainty, but oh so ecstatically so!
Damn you, civilization! The Northwest Nomad has felt life outside your deadly comforts, and it was sweeter than honey, damn it. Sweeter than honey!
Who am I? Who cares! Look at that rock yonder, that massive presence contemplating the sea forever. That’s what matters and that’s why you walk a trail like Sand Point.
Be the rock! Witness the rock! Love the rock! And worship it…yes, yes! Get down on thy knees and worship its beauty!
But no…no! I’m teetering on madness now, fevered with the memory of that brush with freedom, that little taste of honey at Sand Point, three miles from Lake Ozette, on the ocean side and ready to fall headfirst into eternity.
And is that not the dark side of sublimity? Becoming lost in one’s own nonexistence? No, I say. No!
…I pull back…
It was a recuperative trip, friends, and nice to get far out of cell phone range and into the mighty elements, to be reminded of how simultaneously small I am and how monumental life itself is.
The rock and the sea and the wind blowing through it all…Sand Point is a good place. Perhaps one of the last of the good places, as I imagine Hemingway might say if he’d been in my shoes.
Sand Point. Lake Ozette. DIG IT.
Northwest Nomad, over and out.