It’s been some time since I last blogged due to family visits and such, but I’m back out and about in the Great Pacific Northwest. The region has been experiencing the longest dry summer on record. Two months without any appreciable rain and pleasant, warm temperatures are welcome to some, but the effects have been devastating on the landscape, especially hitting hard in the eastern parts of Washington and Oregon with all the ongoing wildfires. There have been some days when the prevailing winds wafted the smoke over to the Puget Sound area of western Washington and have made for some dramatic sunsets. Some days, we could not even see Mount Rainier due to the smoke haze. That’s pretty bad!
Yesterday, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and drove once again to the alluring Olympic Peninsula. I had thought of visiting once again the beautiful Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park, but along the way on Hwy 101 stopped at the town of Sequim (pronounced S-Q-U-I-M) instead to investigate some natural areas that I had not visited before. There is both the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and the Dungeness Receation Area that I’ve been wanting to check out for the longest time. It’s one of those places that you need to put aside a day to visit to take full advantage of the opportunities they have to offer. Upon viewing the vista from the bluff trails above the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I immediately fell in love with this special area. The blue waters, the sound of the breaking surf below the bluffs, and the magnificent view of the nearby Olympic Mountains did it for me!
On this fine, blue sky day, the waters were a very blue color, with the shallow areas near shore being beautiful shades of turquoise.
At the opposite end of the vista, one can espy the beginning of a very long sand spit, one of the longest in the world. It is located in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, which is located just beyond the Dungeness Recreation Area, a county park. Stay on the same road as the Dungeness Recreation Area to enter the national wildlife area. There is plenty of parking, along with a small access fee to hike the trail down to the natural sand spit. The hike down to the water level is 0.5 miles each way. The spit is 5 miles long and accessible by foot, with a lighthouse situated at the end. Along the way is protected natural wildlife area that is home for many species of birds. If you are inclined to take on the long hike, make sure you have a copy of the local tide tables. Low tide time makes for an easier hike.
When I finished perusing the bluff areas of the Dungeness Recreation Area, I took a leisurely drive along the coastline overlooking the spit and other viewpoint areas in the bay, including the scenic John Wayne Marina. I was taken aback with the natural beauty and simplicity of this coastal area and thought to myself, “My, what a hidden paradise this place is!”