All I knew was that I wanted to visit Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point in the continental United States. And I wanted to be close enough to be able to get there more than once just in case the weather didn't cooperate.
We settled on going to Hobuck Beach Resort on the Makah Reservation territory. Hobuck has two camping areas - the south section has a ten-site beachfront RV park with full hook-ups ($40/night) next to some cabins and the north section is a field where they can accommodate just about any type of camper, but there are no designated sites and no hook-ups ($25/night), and it's a short walk over some dunes to the beach rather than having a direct view of the beach. Reservations are not accepted at either section.
We thought we'd splurge on full hook-ups at the beach for $40/night, and then have multiple back-up plans as that area around Neah Bay is not the most convenient or easiest to get to. Today's trip was only 40 miles, but it was slow going from Ozette to the coastal highway WA 112, and then 112 was also a curvy road along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I doubt we would have taken the 39-foot fifth wheel on either road.
A quick note on Washington roads. The road surfaces are smooth for the most part (not many potholes or other defects); however, the roads are often very wavy. On several roads, riding in the motorhome has been like riding in a boat on rough seas.
Also, there are several signs that say it is illegal in Washington to have more than five vehicles lined up behind you, so they provide a good number of "slow vehicle" pull-offs to let the traffic pass. That's been kind of nice, and some drivers will give a little toot of their horn as a "thank you" when they go by.
Anyway, thought I'd just pass that along.
Signs to Hobuck Beach are good once you reach Neah Bay. There are three 90-degree, 10 mph turns in town to get on Cape Flattery Road leading to the camping.
The office for Hobuck Beach is on a well-traveled, dusty gravel road at the entrance to their north section. When we pulled in, they informed us that the full hook-ups in the south section were full, and they didn't think anyone was vacating anytime soon. And they said that the Cape Resort in town was also full as far as full hook-up sites (scratch one back-up plan).
But they gave us options. We could either park in the field or there was a small section of gravel at the end of their full hook-up sites where we could dry camp facing the beach for the same $25 as in the field. Or we could go around the corner to the Hide Away RV Park which has full hook-up sites for $30/night (but they charge $10/night for extra vehicles).
If we were going to boondock or dry camp, we would have liked to dump tanks, although it wasn't really necessary for a short stay. Hobuck Beach doesn't have a dump station, so we drove around to the Hide Away RV Park.
As soon as we drove in, Linda didn't like it so scratch another back-up plan. Maybe we could at least dump tanks there and take on water. Nope. They don't have a dump station either. We asked if we could back into an open full hook-up site and pay to dump and take on water. Nope. Understandable, but we thought we would ask.
Back to the office at Hobuck Beach. We decided to take the gravel spot on the beach, but wanted to know exactly where we could park so we didn't interfere with the other folks in the RV park section. They were extremely accommodating.
We unhitched the Jeep, and Linda followed the owner the quarter to half-mile down to the south section to show us exactly where we could park. We just needed to give the people on the end plenty of room as they were out fishing, and they park a truck and boat next to their RV.
While the ladies were determining our site, they let me fill our fresh water tank at the office. Then we got registered and we purchased our $10 Makah Recreation pass that is required for parking at Cape Flattery and other public parking areas on the reservation including the Shi Shi Beach Trailhead which is only about four miles south. This website lists six locations where you can get the pass, and Hobuck Beach is one of them.
They said if any of their full hook-up campers leave, we are free to pull into that open site and claim it or just dump tanks. Again, very accommodating.
So, here is where we ended up - a nice, level site with a view of the ocean where our solar panels can soak up all the sun we need.
Much better than the field for the same price, in our opinion.
Plus there are restrooms here - one men's and one women's each with a shower. And since the RV sites have full hook-ups, and the cabins have their own bathrooms, the restrooms are rarely used and stay clean.
Oh, and we have great Verizon service.
Once we got settled, we made the drive out to Cape Flattery which was only six miles away. I had seen photos and several people had recommended making the drive to the northwesternmost point in the continental U.S. The nice, paved, curvy road ends at the parking area which was quite full on this Wednesday afternoon. For those brave enough to drive an RV, there is an RV turnaround.
Now, you can't just step out of your car and have beautiful views. It takes a little effort. There is a 0.75-mile trail, and it's not just a flat, easy walk. It's all downhill starting with a nice, wide path.
Then there is a short, narrow boardwalk. Then there is a section with lots of exposed tree roots, and then there is more boardwalk leading to the five observation platforms on the cliffs.
From observing others we concluded 1) many people didn't realize how long a mile and a half round-trip really is, especially when the return is all uphill, and 2) they didn't expect the path to be quite as rough as it is. There were a couple of temporarily abandoned strollers along the way.
We asked a lady in the parking lot if Linda should take her hiking poles, and the response was "definitely". They also have walking sticks at the start of the trail you can borrow or donate $5 and take it home.
So, be prepared, but it's worth it.
We skipped the first viewpoint, and continued on the boardwalk. Our first stop was a view of this little cove.
We watched the birds, mostly Pigeon Guillemots with their bright red feet, ....
and Pelagic Cormorants.
This cormorant was sitting on an egg in a hole in the rocks.
We also got a glimpse of a Harbor Seal before moving to the next platform where we had this view.
Before climbing up onto the last platform, there was a little spot along a railing on the right. From there, we had this view.
Also, we got to see this Harbor Seal before it sank into the kelp.
And then we started seeing some individual Tufted Puffins.
We knew puffins were a possibility, but they mostly stay at the outer islands along the Washington coast and they are rarely seen. So, it was quite a treat to see them with our binoculars.
As for photos, they were a long way off, so I zoomed in on the black dots in the water and started snapping hoping for a couple photos we could crop and at least prove we were actually seeing puffins. We got lucky - the pictures aren't clear, but it's the best we could do with distant birds bouncing on waves and a handheld camera zoomed to the max.
The one above and the one below have fish in their bills.
This one held on to its fish as it walked across the water and took off.
Along with the puffins, guillemots, and cormorants, there were a pair of American Oystercatchers on the rocks.
Stepping up onto the last platform (with a high two-step ladder), we had a great view of Tatoosh Island.
There is a lighthouse on the island, but there are no occupants. It was an important island to the Makah people, and it's named after a Makah chief. Permission is required from the tribe to access the island.
We spent quite a bit of time before heading back on the boardwalks to the first viewing platform which we skipped. Another beautiful cove.
I really wanted to drop a kayak down there on the clear water.
Eventually, we made our way back up the path to the parking lot. Cape Flattery certainly didn't disappoint.
Back at Hobuck Beach, our neighbors were back from the day's fishing. Janine & Tim are from south of Seattle, and they come up here every year to stock their freezer full of fish.
We liked them right away, and we talked for a long time. They really know what they are doing, and we got quite the education on fishing these waters.
Later, I walked past the RVs ....
and headed out to the beach.
Something spooked the gulls and soon it looked like a scene from Hitchcock's movie "The Birds".
It was a sandy beach with no rocks or sea glass, so Linda wasn't too interested.
After that, I got out the Blackstone and we grilled some burgers and onions for dinner.
Then I got out all of camping gear from our backpacking trip and aired it all out. Some of it was a little damp, so we wanted to try to get everything as dry as possible before packing it all away until the next trip.
Looking out our windshield, I noticed some clouds and great colors for the sunset, so I hustled out to the beach for photos.
It was the only sunset we've had in the last several days where we had clouds to add color, and it was gorgeous.
Well, that's it for another day. Tomorrow, I think we'll go into town to visit the highly recommended Makah Museum.
This morning was cloudy, drizzly, and cool. I thought I might do the hike to Shi Shi Beach, but decided against it due to the weather.
So, we just hung out in our motorhome and got some things done.
Around 11:00, our neighbors came back from fishing. They left about 4:30 this morning and returned "early" having caught their limits of King Salmon and Sea Bass.
They told us they were doing so well fishing, they would bring us back dinner. We offered to pay for the fish and the gas for their boat, but Tim just laughed at us.
We watched as they processed what they called Sea Bass which I guess is also known as Black Rockfish.
Once those were finished, they worked on their salmon.
In exchange for answering some questions about RVing, they gave us four bass fillets and a large salmon fillet. I asked more questions than they did, and again we offered to pay for the fish and, again, they declined.
What nice people. And their process was amazing to watch. They had a system and were diligent in cleaning up. Impressive.
Later than we intended, we went into Neah Bay and visited the Makah Museum. They don't allow photos, so I'll provide a summary or you can just go to the website.
The museum is $6/person, and we found it to be worth that. It's a well-done museum displaying artifacts from the Ozette Archeological Site. Apparently, a storm caused erosion and uncovered a historical site. A hiker discovered it and reported it to the Makah Tribe.
The museum has a starting point and you walk through in a particular order which is very well done. There are lots of narratives of what you are seeing AND they are in large print so they are easy to read. We're not museum people, but we enjoyed this very focused set of displays and the story of the people.
We had skipped lunch, and we were starving, so we decided to return to our rig and have an early fish dinner. We selected the salmon, and I cooked it on the Blackstone.
It doesn't get any fresher than that - this fish was in the ocean this morning. And man, it was soooo good.
Later on, the skies cleared, and I decided to go back up to Cape Flattery for the sunset. Linda bowed out, and I told her I'd be gone a couple hours.
The lighting was better this evening than yesterday afternoon, and it was even more beautiful.
Scanning the ocean, I immediately noticed there were about eight Tufted Puffins swimming around. There were still a long way off, but I got some better photos than yesterday.
The sun was setting, and it just got prettier.
After taking lots of photos from that vantage point, I moved to another spot. Wow.
The sun was setting beside Tatoosh Island as four young people sat and watched from the edge of a cliff below me.
It was definitely worth making the trip back to Cape Flattery.
So, that wraps up our two days spent on the Makah Reservation. Cape Flattery and our new friends, Janine & Tim, really made it special.