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The Ozette Triangle

Every fall, Billy and I make a pilgrimage to the coast. Or rather, we run to it frantically as the heavy tide of summer seems just about to come crashing down upon us—sending us out to sea. It’s here amid the primitive elegance that is this wild stretch of raw beauty, that we breathe a little easier, feel the shoulders relax a little looser. Even in a day trip, there’s a transformative effect that Washington’s final brush of artistry can have on frazzled mind and overrun being.

We never go any place secretive. This time it was the Ozette Triangle, a 9.4-mile round trip loop that begins at Lake Ozette and tromps northwest through a jungle of spruce, cedar and colossal ferns along a boardwalk for 3.3 miles. Soon as you see the trees thinning and a blue void that is sky, it spits you out on a bluff at this sublime scene. The cacophony of sea lion barks from a distant sea stack injects reality back into what could quickly fade from any sense of it. The air is thick and salty.

The triangular-shaped loop continues 3.1 miles down this beach, then 3 miles through forest back to the lake.

But you come for this seascape. At low tide, it’s a big kid’s playground, with large, homesteaded tide pools to leap across in flailing attempts to make it from island to island without losing a knee cap to the slimy faces.

And then there are the reasons for pause: like when you’re 1.5 miles in and you realize this strip is only accessible by foot. That the only folks who will see this living gallery are those who hike out to it. Also, that the few primitive campsites along the bluff surely offer life-affirming views with a morning tea.

Unlike the mountains, where a solid silence hangs from the peaks deep to the valley floors, the world here is alive, moving, crashing, breathing. It’s easy to get caught up watching the tide roar in and slink back out, or wait five times for water to rush into a tide pool swirl around and scurry back out.

In certain sections along the bluff, ropes hang from rocks offering go-arounds during high tide.

Losing momentum from our hike through the sand, a total lower-body workout, we posted up for lunch and a sharp-shooting contest with varying targets. I won. Billy might disagree.

But it doesn’t matter. Nothing matters out here. Trust me, big or small, it all gets swept up in the thundering effects of the moon’s mighty tug on the tide, and carried out into the deep. This is sort of an ancient cure for all things body and mind.

By now, I feel as though the coast is always waiting for us come end of summer.

Of course, the beauty of it is, it isn’t at all.

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