Ben Altizer, Tami Sargent, Tim Sargent, Elden Altizer, Doerte Mahanay, Chris Sargent, Jeff Sargent enjoy our campfire!
The Olympic Coast Cleanup 2004!
"The wildest, the most remote and, I think, the most picturesque beach area of our whole coastline lies under the pounding surf along the Pacific Ocean in the State of Washington . . . It is a place of haunting beauty, of deep solitude. "William O. Douglas
Oil City/Hoh Head topo Map
What to Bring?
This was the third year that the Washington Alpine Club has participated as a club in the annual Beach Cleanup. We had an excellent turnout and unbelievable weather!
The Beach Cleanup was the idea of a gentleman named Jan Klippert. He was hiking the Olympic Coast and noticed a variety of debris that had washed up on the beaches. The current across the Pacific Ocean carries objects from as far away as Asia! Jan went home and started making phone calls. He now has a growing annual event with over 500 volunteers participating, as well as the Park Service, Cities of Port Angeles, and Forks, and even the Makah Indian Nation. The WAC is also one of the sponsors.
The Trailhead at Oil City is at the end of a dirt road, at the Olympic National Park boundary. There is no city, nor any oil, at Oil City. At one time it was a drilling prospect. Now it is only a place in the Hoh Rain Forest, at the mouth of the Hoh River, that begins itís journey high above on the glaciers of Mount Olympus. Oil City is an ugly name for a beautiful place. The silver lining in the name Oil City? It helps keeps folks away! Ruby Beach sounds much more inviting, but isn't really..
It is less than two miles to the Hoh Beach and the Pacific Ocean. We set up camp above the high water line, sheltered from the wind by big driftwood logs. We had a group kitchen area, and the tents dispersed.
Hoh Beach is interesting in that large amount of logs and driftwood accumulate on the beach each winter. They wash down the Hoh River, and are deposited on the beach by the high storm tides. Each year the beach is different as logs and wood are washed away or redeposited. What is a sandy beach one year, might be a huge pile of logs the next.
With low tide at 10:30 am our group immediately traveled North along the beach and cobbles around Diamond Head to Jefferson Cove. Jefferson Cove is a scenic 1 mile stretch of sandy beach, perfect for laying out, volleyball, or soccer.
Armed with trash bags we picked up floats, styrofoam, plastic bottles, rope, pieces of fishing nets, and an old propane tank. The styrofoam is the worst, as it continues to break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Our only interesting finds were a water bottle from Japan, and an Arabic Coke can. The Japanese Glass Floats are still found occasionally along our Ocean, but not near as many as in times past.
We carried all our bags to the far North end of the beach where we made a big cache high above the High Tide Line. Jan will arrange a vessel and a Zodiac to come and pick up all the backcountry caches.
At the North end of Jefferson Cove is some wonderful tide pools at low tide. This is also the place where a ladder takes hikers off the beach to the trail that goes over the impassable Hoh Headland to Mosquito Creek. 17 miles, two creek crossings, a waterfall, and two other Headlands later hikers exit at Third Beach.
Our Team headed back to Hoh Beach, anxious to get around Diamond Head before the rising tide left us stranded on the wrong side for 12 hours. We were happy to meet the Sargent family, and Lee and Shawn Parsons, who were working Hoh Beach. At camp, we had lunch, and time to relax for the afternoon.
Michael and Florence Sheehan, and, Lee and Sean Parsons hiked out, carrying a bag of debris to the Trailhead. We were all sad to see them leave so soon. Everything collected on the Hoh Beach had to be hauled out to the Trailhead for pickup by volunteers from Port Angeles. We left them a large load of 12 bags, a tire, and 2 propane tanks.
Evening saw the team have some great fun! Some of us ate some fresh mussels. Chris kept a pocketful of fresh mussels and would cook them to order! We saw three seals in the water, and two Bald Eagles perched in the Sika Spruce high above. The lighthouse far offshore on Destruction Island came on exactly at sunset. We made a big bon fire to signal passing ships and enjoyed smores, popcorn and other treats. The Moon in its first quarter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn was visible as well as the Big Dipper, and other stars.
A leisurely morning and then a leisurely hike out on Sunday. A grand time was had by all. Jeff Sargent suggested that the trip be extended to three days next year!
Thanks to Jan Klippert for organizing this huge event. Thanks to Victor, Joelle, Elden, Bentley, Michael and Florence, Lee, Sean, John, Tami, Tim, Jeff, Chris, and Doerte for taking time out to participate in the cleanup!
For more information on visiting the wild Olympic Coast: http://www.nps.gov/olym/wic/coast.htm
The activities described in this web site are potentially dangerous. Canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountaineering involve unavoidable risks including the risk of serious bodily injury and death. All forms of wilderness recreation have a higher level of risk than most ordinary activities. The owner and publisher of this web site do not assume any responsibility or liability for your safety. Those who use this information, and those who venture onto mountainous terrain, do so at their own risk. Disclaimer
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