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Olympic Coast WWII Cabin - Cascade Trekker 2007

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Published on Apr 4, 2012

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Hike the Olympic National Park Coastline to visit the location of an old cabin built to safeguard against invasion during World War II. For many years I have visited the Olympic Coastline during weather breaks in the winter. It seems that there is always an opportune time in late January or early February. The first time and many times after with my friend Brandon Webb, where are you man? This will be that last trip worth mentioning. I think I knew it was to be the last and I'm glad I got some decent images and some basic film. I must emphasize, after experiencing storms and high sea levels, that this place is unforgiving, be careful and know the tide tables. I drive to Rialto Beach, which is the middle of the Olympic coastal strip, just north of the Quillayute River. First though, I took the wrong road and ended up on the Quileute Indian Reservation in the small town of La Push. I was trying to flag down passing cars at night for directions but no one stopped, it was weird. I resolved the issue myself. At the Rialto Beach parking lot, I had no other plans but to sleep in the back of my truck, but the signs say no camping. I know the rangers are vigilant about the rules so I wander towards the deep crashing sound of the surf to pass some time. In the dark it's a little spooky because I don't know how far in the water is on the beach though it's loud and seems close. I have my white gas lantern to help me along. As I reach the sand I can tell where it's wet and have a better idea. I wait for all of the activity in the parking lot to die down and settle into the back of my truck. In the morning, just after I wake up, there are rangers taking care of the trash, etc. I talk to one older guy that doesn't seem to care that I slept there. I gear up and start walking north along the beach and the sun is shining brightly. I pass Hole-In-The-Wall, and have to hop over a small ridge. Hiking on the coast is more taxing and takes longer than hiking on regular trails. Often times it requires boulder hopping through coves and the footing is always tenuous. I am constantly searching for the best type of surface to hike on, which I think is the recently wet sand if it's available. I round a small cape, impassable at high tide, shown in the second picture. I am reminded that I was overdressed with the gaitors and goretex pants. There are limited camping opportunities on the coast and near the Chilean Memorial, where a ship went aground, there is one small ledge just out of reach of the high tide. I am here a little early and decide to prepare a fire for the night. There is plenty of fuel but all of it emits a salty wet smoke when burned. The night is chilly, in the low 30's, but I have my heavy bag and thick pad. Today I will relocate camp to a cabin site perched high up on a jut of rock. I was there once before, but it's been a while and I can't remember exactly where it is. I start north and soon have to climb over Cape Johnson, which is less than 100 feet. On the other side I'm happy to see a creek draining into the ocean. Nearby in the thick forest are campsites. I set my pack down thinking I would camp here. Then just past the creek I see a faint trail leading up into the bushes. I follow it up and there it is, or was, the cabin I had visited years earlier. I rush back to get the pack and start setting up near the now defunct cabin. My belief is that the storms from the previous Fall had knocked it over. It's a dry and beautiful location, 150 feet above the beach, with Bald Eagles flying overhead. I explore around the cabin and find a stash underneath it: wrapped in multiple bags a stove, fuel canister, two onions, some dehydrated meals and teas bags. Also there is a binder in the cabin describing it's purpose during World War II as a lookout for Japanese Invasion. Many of the boards, now laying all about, have nails protruding so I do a little clean up and burn a few in my makeshift fire-ring. That night, in the light of the full moon, I catch a glimpse of a rat running near my tent. I zip it up, but that night the bastard stole one of my wool socks that I had drying out. It did make me laugh and I felt he earned it. I spend two great nights here and hike the seven long miles back to my truck the last day, and at just the right time, I was able to hike through the Hole-In-The-Wall.

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