Cape Flattery Trail

Cape Flattery Trail – Neah Bay, Washington

on Makah Indian Reservation

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Sun on Water

On Tuesday, July 8, 2015, we took Hwy. 112 up the Strait of Juan de Fuca (which is one of a seemingly infinite number of waterways in western Washington) to the most northern point of the USA, Point Flattery.  Along the way we stopped for lunch and and a couple more times to get shots of the ocean.  There are at least 100 fires going on in British Columbia, which is right across the strait, so the air was gray from smoke during the drive up.  The point itself, was clear however so we were able to see blue sky when we arrived there.

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Sitting with Harley after eating lunch. Little sand flies were biting him on the ground so I rescued him.

There were some flowers in bloom in the area where we parked.

Western Mornng Glory - Calystegia occidentalis
Western Mornng Glory – Calystegia occidentalis

These wild grasses were lovely.

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Pink & golden grasses.

Up the coast, the smoke cleared and we stopped to get pictures of the water and landscape.

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Fireweed – Chamerion augustifolium

Flattery Point is on the Makah Indian Reservation.  You are required to purchase a parking pass in the small town of Neah Bay, WA before taking the road out to the point.

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Neah Bay, Washington

We didn’t understand this and if there were signs informing us we missed them.  After getting to the parking lot at the trailhead we noted that at least half of the cars didn’t have permits so decided to risk getting a ticket and go ahead with the hike.  It was a cool day so we left Harley in the car since its hard for him to hike for any distance.  A dachshund’s legs are not designed for hiking.

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Trail Head Sign

The trail is about a mile round trip.  The Falcon Guide book I have says there are no difficulties to the trail, but I disagree.  We saw an elderly lady with a cane picking her way down as we hiked back up, and it was apparent she could fall at any time.  The roots of the trees require watching each step so as not to turn an ankle, and the boardwalk has open spots where her cane could catch.  I didn’t notice any loose boards however.  I’m not saying she couldn’t make her way down, I just think a guide book should mention such difficulties.  This would be an impossible trail to take a motorized wheelchair down.  We have seen people in wheelchairs maneuver dirt trails, but this trail is completely wheelchair prohibitive.

The trail starts out fairly flat, and the trail is wide and even.

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Trailhead.

Soon the trail begins a gradual decline down towards the water.  It is never very steep but as noted above it is necessary to take care where you step.  The Hemlock tree roots seem to grow as well above ground as below.

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Hemlock Tree Roots on Trail

This is the first time Bruce and I have encountered a grove of old hemlock trees.  It has a spooky, fairy tale quality.

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Lions & Tigers & Bears! Oh My!

These trees take on strange shapes.

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Twisted old Hemlock

Soon the trail narrows.  The raised boardwalk alternates with the dirt path (tip-toes-through-the-roots).  The hemlock trees give way to marshy areas, where ferns and the ever present Oregon grape bushes thrive.

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Bruce navigating boardwalk

As you get closer to the point the boardwalk has overlooks over the Pacific Ocean on the left and the Strait on the right.

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Glistening water on the Pacific Ocean side
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Cliffs on the Strait of Juan de Fuca side

Looking down into the water is similar to the Northern California coastline.

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Jagged cliffs
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Churning water
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Quite a view!
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Plants find a way to survive this harsh environment
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Water Bird
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I think this guy is called an Oyster Crusher
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Fat Seals

There’s a lighthouse on a small island off the point. You can’t make out clearly, but there are two bald eagles on top.

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Pt. Flattery Lighthouse
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Lighthouse in the distance
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Trees grow right up to the cliffs in the distance

This is a beautiful area and its a wonderful drive out to the point.  To me the most beautiful coastline is still Big Sur up to Ft. Bragg, California, but Point Flattery is unique to the area and it is the most northern point in the U S of A.  California doesn’t have bald eagles on the ocean or a spooky hemlock forest.  This forest must be really wild to go through on a cold, windy, rainy winter’s day.  Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh my!