Rainy Rendezvous

A night at Toleak Point

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We rendezvoused at the Third Beach trailhead in a downpour.

My traveling pals had come up from southern Oregon—brave fools. I’d come across on the Chetzemoka (named for a long-deceased Chief of the Klallam tribe) from the ferry terminal at Coupeville to Port Townsend. The sun held out until Lake Crescent, west of Port Angeles. Then it began to rain. And rain.

Normally, I’d go gallivanting off into the tempest, but cooler heads prevailed and a bivouac at the Olympic National Park campground at Mora was determined to be just the ticket. And it was. We ate macaroni and cheese beside the fire, beneath the tarp. (If life gets better than this, let me know.)

In the morning, the Sun Gods were smiling upon us. We returned to the Third Beach trailhead and huffed our packs down through the forest to the wide beach, raked clean by the retreating tide. 

We walked south along the sand until confronted by the jutting jaw and flashing waterfall of Taylor Point and climbed the “sand ladder,” a uniquely Olympic coastal trail feature, steel cables bridged by wooden steps, to gain the top of the headland. On top, we crossed what can only be described as a jungle through boot-sucking mud.

Eventually, we descended slippery slopes back to the beach. Walking on smooth, compacted sand was a pleasure and we quickly reached Scotts Bluff, which, in theory, can be rounded at low tide. On this day, at low tide, the theory was radically unconvincing—waves crashing on the sheer cliffs—so we looked for the sand ladder to climb the headland, but discovered it had been attached to a tree that had gone down in a winter storm. In its place was a dangling rope, hanging from a muddy cliff. We climbed it, one by one, slipping and sliding and hanging on for dear life, like Keystone Cops with enormous backpacks.  

Across the top of the bluff we went, through salal the size of small trees and lots more of the gaiter-slathering mud to the far edge, where we discovered that the wooden stairs that facilitate descent had been reduced to splintery bits by a fallen cedar.

A trail crew was there working on the problem, and they were a profoundly unhappy-looking bunch, sullenly wielding their pulaskis, miserable and tired. “One thing’s for sure,” the crew boss told us, “it’s different every year.”  Amen to that.

Back on the beach, we made good time toward the distant Giant’s Graveyard, a line of black sea stacks lined up like dark battleships offshore. At Scott Creek we removed our boots to ford the stream, which was freezing, an instant ice cream headache for the feet. We dropped our packs at Toleak Point and made camp beneath the first gnarled trees above the beach.

At the end of the day, the sun flared orange and crimson on the sea and we coaxed a smoky fire to life.  The fire burned down and my weary traveling companions slipped off to bed, one by one. The usual situation: I was alone by the dying embers, listening to the music of the waves.

More Outdoors...
Ruffled Feathers
Coping with a cooper’s hawk

The mystery started when one of our free-range hens turned up dead behind our garden shed with a small puncture wound on her breast and half her feathers plucked out.

During our previous seven years of urban chicken ranching, the Lady of the House and I have scraped a few savagely mangled…

more »
Unearthing History
Take a historic cemetery tour

While it’s true that the outings taking place Sun., Oct. 15 at the Mount Vernon Cemetery are occurring during the spookiest time of the year, Skagit County Historical Museum Director Jo Wolfe wants to assure potential visitors that there’s absolutely no need to be afraid of what lies inside…

more »
Beer, Metal, Yoga
A different kind of serenity

Yoga can be intimidating, but a couple of venues in downtown Bellingham want to provide an out-of-the-ordinary experience for beginners and seasoned practitioners.

First up: Beer + Yoga at 9am Sat., Oct 7 at Aslan Brewing (1330 N. Forest St). Jess Fleming and Dawn Hood started Just Add…

more »
MVHS Fall Concert

4:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Book Group Mixers

5:30pm|Village Books

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Life of the Arctic Polar Bear

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Anyone for Stew?

6:30pm|Gretchen's Kitchen

Seasonal Beers

6:30pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Birds and Plants

7:00pm|RE Store

Thriving in the Middle

7:00pm|Village Books

Jeremy Kahn Quartet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Scottish Dancing

7:30pm|Fairhaven Library

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Book Group Mixers

5:30pm|Village Books

Bringing history into sharp focus


Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

U.S. Citizenship Class

6:00pm|Lynden Library


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Balkan Folk Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Summer Bike Stories

7:00pm|Cafe Velo

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds


7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Women of Lockerbie

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

Young Frankenstein

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Book and Bake Sale

10:00am|Lynden Library

Grand Opening and Open House

11:00am|Social Fabric

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Clean Eating

2:00pm|Cordata Community Food Co-op

Coffee Tasting

3:00pm|Camber Cafe

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|downtown Bellingham

Art Night

5:00pm|SpringHill Suites by Marriott

12 Minutes Max Auditions

5:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

Amber Sky CD Release Party

6:00pm|Presence Studio

Gore & Lore Tours

6:00pm|Historic Fairhaven, downtown Bellingham

Falliday Vintage Market

6:00pm|Port Transit Event Center

Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Wild & Scenic Film Festival

6:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Poetry Party

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


7:00pm|Village Books

USA Dance


Thriller Dance Class

7:00pm|Moles Farewell Tributes

Halloween Movie Night

7:00pm|BHS Performing Arts Center

Friday Night Flicks

7:30pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Sanford-Hill Piano Series

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center


8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Holding the Light

8:00pm|Honey Moon

see our complete calendar »

CWWarrenMiller Trove Mt. Baker Theatre Undersea Bubble Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Bellingham Farmer’s Market Village Books