WA – Olympics – Third Beach, it’s an Obstacle Course!

This was another trip my friend Jake, a long-time peninsula dweller and fellow adventurer recommended. Did he forget I wasn’t 20? After reviewing the details of the hike, especially being such a newbie to coastal hiking, I elected to day hike this section knowing I most likely wouldn’t make it all the way to Strawberry or Toleak Points but knew I’d develop some new skills while having a grand adventure. Bonus: I’d get to hike another section of the Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT).

Obstacle #1 – After hiking a little over a mile through a beautiful coastal forest, clamber over these driftwood logs, and on down to Third Beach.

As I arrived at Third Beach, this sign was a good reminder to return before high tide, which on this date was about 3:30pm. 

The beach (and the south side of Teahwhit Head) was welcoming at 9:45am, another perfect walking beach. Low tide was a little after 9am on this date.

When I returned around 1:30, it was a much smaller beach and still a couple more hours before high tide. 

As the tide recedes, the water makes such lovely patterns. 

This pattern always reminds me of tree roots. 

Taylor Point, which requires overland travel, has a freshwater creek that drops as a waterfall into the surf. With this being just past low tide, it’s easy to see why the point can’t be safely rounded.

The rocks were mostly hidden by early afternoon. 

Obstacle #2 – climb this rope to begin the Taylor Point overland hike. I was so glad to not have my overnight pack. Since I solo hike frequently, my rule is to never go up something I can’t get back down and visa versa, I never go down something I can’t get back up. Although I felt fairly confident about getting back down, I worried the rest of my hike and was extremely thankful for dry conditions. I don’t think I would have tackled this when wet and muddy. 

I met a couple guys on my return trip just beginning their ascent (doesn’t look so bad from this angle) but they were struggling plenty with those large packs that  looked to be heavy. 

Obstacle #3, this rickety ladder. 

Looking at what I’d be coming down was a bit intimidating, especially since I don’t really like to go down things backwards. 

The waterfall from near the top of Taylor Point. 

And oh the ocean looked beautiful from atop Taylor Point. 

Now this is my kind of trail. Oh how I love boardwalks among the ferns. 

Now these are much more civilized stairs! 

What’s not to like about this ascent and descent? Of course I understand why they’ve kept it challenging at Third Beach . . . . but this sure makes me happy.

Upon reaching the beach, I was once again reminded about high tide. And I was welcomed by an orange version of Wilson. 

Welcome! but remember high tides are not your friend. 

The south side of Taylor Point and the headland I hiked. 

To the south of Taylor Point is a nice little pocket beach, accessible during low to medium tide. 

Obstacle #4 would have been climbing this rope to hike the overland route of Scotts Bluff. But given my time constraints and seeing the rope (and still being a bit concerned about getting back down the ladder and ropes on Taylor Point) I knew Scotts Bluff, Strawberry and Toleak Points would have to wait for another day. I met this young couple, Cole and Elizabeth, after they descended. What an exciting life they are living; they plan to visit 59 national parks in a year. Check out their Switchback Kids website.

These grassy rocks fascinated me. 

I took time to explore some tidepools. 

On my return trip, while up on Taylor Point, I saw these two guys walking toward the waterfalls. Later we met on the beach and they wondered if they would make it around the small headland that led to the pocket beach. They were told by the ranger most likely not. 

Returning to the safety of Third Beach, I had plenty of time to lollygag, and watch the tide begin to roll in among the sea stacks. 

The highlight was watching this sea otter catch and consume several fish. 

When he’d had his fill, he scurried off to his waterfront home. 

Thank you orange sherbet Wilson for keeping the tidal wave demons at bay. 

Date Hiked: 5/9/16

Road Trip Day #80


Jan’s Tips:

  • The NP campground at Mora provides for convenient overnight car camping. It’s a $20 per night, no-reservation CG. There are a couple other nearby options if this is full.
  • If you want to camp on trail, you’ll need a permit. You can either stop at the NP Information Center in Forks where I believe you can obtain the required bear canisters (for the raccoons). Be sure to ask for the Wilderness Trip Planner map as it shows the campsites, impassible headlands, low tide passage areas, and fresh water locations. They will also provide you with a Tide Chart and explain how it works for the area you’ll be visiting. Note: I was told fresh water must be boiled or filtered, that chemicals will not work sufficiently (to kill a bacteria?).
  • The tide maps are available from the Visitor Center and are posted at most trailheads and ranger stations. If unfamiliar, take time to learn how to read. (link)
  • According to my Trimble Outdoor Navigator Map, this was a 8+ mile round trip, 2,000′ elevation gain/loss hike.
  • Nearest resupply is Forks.
  • Link to my other jaunts in Washington

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Broken Links? I'd love to hear from you!

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