So you know the United States, right? Shi Shi beach is the essentially where you end up if you go as far up and to the left in the US as possible. Well, OK: technically the official NW-most corner is a few miles north of there – Cape Flattery – but since we visited that too I’m lumping them together and counting it.
Even without knowing its geographic significance beforehand, I’d like to think that I would have picked up on Shi Shi feeling like a place that’s on the edge of something. The whole Pacific is just unapologetically there in front of you stretched out as unbroken as a lazy August afternoon. Hiking down through towering Douglas fir and western red cedar of the Makah Indian Reservation to Olympic National Park, where the delicate grit of the beach slides its way seamlessly into the perpetual waves, the overwhelming sensation is one of being at a precipice – the brink of North America.
When our group first stepped from the dark of the rainforest and out into the blinding brightness of the sand, shimmering fog blurred and obscured the receding waves before us – heightening the feeling of stepping up to the edge of the world. As we hiked the two remaining miles along the beach toward our destination of Point of The Arches at the southernmost end of Shi Shi, the air gradually cleared to a pale, cloudless blue.
Our Labor Day Weekend 2017 camping expedition consisted of myself, Jehnean, Chris, and Julie. We’d gotten up at 4:45AM back in Seattle to catch the ferry across Puget Sound and to the Olympic Peninsula to drive the remaining four hours to the trailhead, with stops along the way for the requisite permits & bear canisters.
Unsurprisingly, my first two months in Seattle have been a whirlwind. Frenetically setting up routines as quickly as possible so I can focus on the good stuff: taking care of the obscene quantities of grown-up to-dos associated with moving one’s life across the country: driver’s license updated...auto-pay for my electric bill...so composting is the thing apparently?...where can I get my muffler replaced?
Adulting ad nauseam.
So, sitting on grayed cedar log washed ashore by some past deliciously tumultuous tempest, staring out at the eternally shushing surf breaking its way onto the beach, it felt good just to soak it in. To have nothing on my itinerary other than drinking in the sunset and waiting for the stars to come out – the Emerald City far enough away to let the wildness of the illume, close enough by to welcome me back home.