We went to the beach last weekend. Did I mention that? Probably not since I’ve not exactly been a prolific blogger lately. Still taking lots of photos, but I gotta admit, maintaining an Instagram page is a heck of a lot easier than maintaining a blog. By-the-by, I post on IG daily.
We returned to Ocean Park, on the north end of the Long Beach peninsula. Friends own a beach house there and generously let us stay at their place. We arrived in town just in time for sunset on Friday evening and hoofed it to the beach for the view. Not too shabby.
We awoke Saturday morning to….sunshine? Sunshine!! In March! For reals. After breakfast we headed to Leadbetter Point for a little hike. We went to Leadbetter when we were at the beach house in June, but we’re run off by seething hoards of mosquitoes. I kid you not. They were atrocious. We didn’t last more than ten minutes.
I had Googled Leadbetter a few days before we arrived and noted the warning about annual flooding in the area from October through May. How bad could it be? I didn’t feel it warranted mentioning to the husband.
The sun was shining brightly when we stepped out of the car. It was 9 am and we were the only ones in the parking lot. Perfect. We started out on the Bay Loop Trail which, appropriately, winds along Willapa Bay. The idea was to follow Bay Loop and connect to Bearberry Trail which would take us almost two miles across the peninsula to the ocean.
The views along the Bay were breathtaking. The sky was blue and there was no wind. We couldn’t ask for much better than that. The sand gave way to grass which gave way to salt marsh, which is a beachy way to say swampy wet grass. I stupidly had worn tennis shoes, which quickly grew wet as a result of the squishy ground. Wet shoes, wet feet. We suggested to ourselves that this might be the flooded area.
The trail cut inland (dry ground!!) and we were swallowed up by trees and mossy ground, sunlight filtering warmly through. We were looking forward to the beach. The husband, Mr Idaho, because it was the beach. Me because I was hoping, since we were far north on the peninsula, that the beach would be littered with sand dollars.
Suddenly the trail ended. Well, it didn’t end. It was underwater. Bigger than a puddle, smaller than a swamp. Winter flooding. A less-traveled trail took off to the left. Optimistically, we followed it. Round and round and round we went. I suspect many of the trails were game trails. We gamely followed them (see how I did that?) until we hit another section of flood. Well.
I pulled up Google Maps to assess just how far we were from the beach (to determine if bushwhacking was an option). We were a ways away. After some discussion we turned back, winding our way back through the woods, through the salt marsh, along the beach and back to the parking lot.
Undeterred, we started down the Weather Beach trail. 1.3 miles to the ocean. We were ready for it! The path was wide and sandy and dry. We hit a Y and followed the path to the left. Soon (too soon) that trail, too, fell into a deep swath of water. And we couldn’t find a way around it. Time to face the music: Leadbetter had skunked us for a second time.
We considered the facts as we made our way back to the car: the area is subject to flooding from October through May. The skeeters will back you off from June-ish through September. Which leaves approximately two weeks in May/June and two weeks in September/October to freely explore the peninsula. That’s a small window. We are up to the challenge, which leaves this part of the story to be continued.
Our wanders managed to suck up approximately two and a half enjoyable hours. We stopped back by the house for a quick bite to eat, then drove to the south end of the Long Beach peninsula. Last June we spent some time at Cape Disappointment, including walking out to the lighthouse there. We intended to go to the North Head lighthouse as well, but from a distance noticed that it looked like it was wrapped in black garbage bags. Turns out they’re working on renovating it.
Good news! The black wrap is gone and the lighthouse is super bright-n-shiny. It’s obvious the base has yet to be renovated, but the column is patched and bright white. The metal around the top of the lighthouse has been repainted jet black. Built in 1896, it’s been through a storm or two. It’s still an operating lighthouse, and the renovation should buy it, what, another 100 years or so?
From there we dropped briefly down to the start of the North Jetty (which is closed for the next couple of years for renovation…lots going on) for some shots of the lighthouse at Cape Disappointment (not bright-n-shiny…perhaps it’s on the reno list). The sun continued to shine brightly, making us….thirsty. We dropped back down to town and stopped at North Jetty Brewing for some refreshment.
After drinks at the brewery and an early dinner elsewhere we made our way back to the beach house. We loaded chairs, a blanket and a bottle of sparkly in the car and drove down the hill to the beach. It was a gorgeous one.
The sky had grown dark by the time we headed back to the house. A good day? Most definitely. We polished things off the next morning with a final beach walk. Sunshine, no wind and these two made it a perfect end to a too-short weekend.
We headed home reluctantly, with the certainty that we’ll be back. We still have to conquer Leadbetter…