This one is purely Pacific Northwest.
The trail starts at the top of a forested bluff looking out over the blue-gray expanse of the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Canada. On this day we were greeted at the gate by deer, a hawk of some kind, and a white-tailed kite riding a relatively stiff breeze. Blustery magic from the get-go.
This national wildlife refuge is a popular destination during summer months, but on this day we quite literally had the entire walk to ourselves. 5 miles of shifty, sandy, windy, rainy, cold, fabulous walking along one of the longest natural sand spits in the world. There was a very remote feeling about being out in the midst of the elements on a very thin strip of terra firma while the wind is pushing you around and the sometimes hail is coming in sideways. Nothing like a little Mother Nature for refining of perspective.
This place is dense with some epic wildlife options. Even on this blustery January day, we spotted all kinds of birds and interesting creature signs. Might have stumbled over a foot, or a flipper? It was slightly disturbing. And rad.
A scavenging bald eagle was the welcome committee once we finally got to the lighthouse, followed by several very eager and excited volunteers.
"You made it! Only visitors today!!" If I'm being honest, I was a little proud.
They welcomed us in, made up a spot by the heaters for us to dry our gear while we took the tour, and we climbed to the top of the lighthouse for even more fabulous sights.
The long walk back was actually a lot more challenging than I had anticipated. All of that sand walking is no joke! I was sore in places I didn't know I had muscles.
Definitely a one-of-a-kind trip, and the perfect thing for a contemplative, winter trek. Looking forward to coming back in the summer with the kiddos. They're gonna love it.