Bill and I took a short road trip, our first travel this year, to Salt Creek Recreation Area, where we camped for three nights with friends Leslie Boies and Rob Harris. Salt Creek is a premier marine life sanctuary, and offers a world class camping experience with views of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, and British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. When I write ‘world class,’ I mean camping here fills my top drawers for scenery, flora and fauna, camping sites, clean bathrooms and ambience. We camped in site #36, next door to our friends.

Camping at Salt Creek Recreation Area on the Olympic Coast. On the left is our 1979 Trillium, nicknamed Marion, in homage to Bill’s Aunt Marion, whose legacy helped us buy and refurbish our vacation home. Marion is parked next to our friends’ trailer. Photo by Kate Poss

On our first full day visiting the Olympic Peninsula we left camp and drove west along Hwy 112 to Neah Bay, located at the northwest corner of the state, and home to the Macah Tribe, indigenous people of 1500 full-time residents, and 3500 enrolled members. Shirley, who greeted us at the not-to-be-missed Makah Museum, suggested we visit Tsoo-Yess Beach, on the Pacific coast.

Kate entering the artful doors at the Makah Museum in Neah Bay. Photo by Leslie Boies

A Makah Recreation Pass is required when entering this tribal jurisdiction. View the  Recreation Permit page for more info.

March’s mercurial weather was kind to us as we parked at the beach and the sun shone for a little while. Story poles depicting salmon, octopus, and other Makah icons greeted us at a wooden covered plaza. With the tide out, we investigated treasures left behind by the sea: mussel shells lined in mother-of-pearl long as my hand, perfect sand dollars, crab remnants, giant barnacles, and hundreds of velella velella–also known as ‘by-the-wind sailors,’ due to their mode of travel along the surface of the open ocean. Sometimes an unfavorable wind can strand them along the beach, where they perish. When in the water, velella velella are carnivorous, catching plankton with toxins located in their tentacles. They depend on the wind for locomotion.

The underside of a velella velella, a jellyfish-like creature which sails with its species along the ocean's surface, propelled by the wind. Photo by Kate Poss
The underside of a velella velella, a jellyfish-like creature which sails with its species along the ocean’s surface, propelled by the wind. Photo by Kate Poss
Velella velella–also known as ‘by the wind sailors,’ sail along the ocean’s surface, unless an offshore wind blows them to land, where they perish. Photo by Kate Poss

We enjoyed this wild beach and its sense of place.

Octopus sculpture Tsoo-Yess Beach. Photo by Kate Poss
Copper and glass end piece at Makah Tribes’ building at Tsoo-Yess Beach. Photo by Kate Poss

During the evening we went for a walk after dinner. Deer grazed in the campground from afternoon until dusk.

Bill and Leslie framed by the Strait of Juan de Fuca below our campground. Photo by Kate Poss
A deer framed by Stripe Peak at Salt Creek Campground near Joyce WA. Photo by Kate Poss
Doe on the horizon. Photo by Kate Poss
Leslie and I framed by Stripe Peak at Salt Creek Campground. Photo by Rob Harris
Leslie Boies and I watching deer in our campground meadow at dusk. Photo by Rob Harris

Another day we walked to nearby Crescent Beach through the woods from our campground. We were lucky to approach a sea stack at low tide.

Bill and Rob in alder forest at Salt Creek Campground. Photo by Kate Poss
Horsetail along trail to Crescent Beach. The ancient plant is used as medicine in traditional societies. Photo by Kate Poss
Sea stack reflected in Salt Creek at Crescent Beach. Photo by Kate Poss
Rob Harris and Leslie Boies at base of sea stack at Crescent Beach. Photo by Kate Poss
Canadian Geese at Salt Creek at Crescent Beach at low tide. Photo by Kate Poss

All in all, a relaxing trip with good friends in some of Washington’s most beautiful settings.

Rob Harris took our photo in Marion. He showed us how to edit photos on our iPhone, plus he has another program which really makes his photos pop.

 

 

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