Thursday, July 9, 2015

Day 6: Hiking the Ozette Loop

Written by guest blogger, Craig Skiles. (Post 7 of 14)
Originally posted here.
Commentary [in green] provided by yours truly.

Friday June 12, 2015

We took a leisurely morning and slowly got ready to go hike the Lake Ozette Loop hiking trail. This trail is about nine miles long -- three miles to Cape Alava on a trail made of cedar planks, three miles on the beach to Sand Point, then another three miles of cedar from Sand Point back to the Lake Ozette Campground.

When I volunteered here so many years ago, I had hiked this loop dozens of times and was surprised to see that the trail had changed but little. Some of the planks looked to be old enough to have been installed by me in the 1980s.

Sarah hikes through the dry rain forest.

What has changed the most is how dry the forest has become. My memory is of a lush, dripping, moss covered, slippery trail. But for us, this time the trail was dry and almost dusty. Hopefully, this temperate rain forest can make it through the current drought without too many changes.

When we got to the beach, I was amazed at the view of the sea stacks out in the water. When I worked here, the weather was always rainy and foggy. I seldom saw the rocks and never saw the sun. But today the weather was clear and cool -- a perfect day for a hike.

A giant seastack, just off the beach.

Sarah poses in a tiny hole in a big rock...

...and then she crawls out on the hole.

While walking along the beach,
we found the perfect driftwood surfboard.

Craig shows off his surfing moves...

...and then Sarah holds a yoga pose atop the surfboard.

We spotted an awesomely large dead'n'decaying elephant seal.

At Sand Point, I showed Sarah the little stream where I would get my drinking water, stood on the spot where my tent was set, and wondered about all the changes that have come to this spot and to all other spots on the Earth.

Craig ponders life's changes.
(And dead elephant seals, too.)

We then headed back to Ozette and got there early enough to carry out our plan to ride a few miles before camping. But after all the reminiscing, I was feeling lazy. So we camped again at Lake Ozette.

[Sarah: I was feeling quite lazy, too. I'm glad we were both up for an afternoon of relaxation.]

For the rest of the day, Sarah sat in her tent reading, and I did a bike inspection. It was then that I noticed a major problem. As I said before, the bike I was riding was put together with spare parts from my garage. But what I didn't tell you was that I also built the frame in my garage.

Last summer, I took a frame building course, and this frame was my first build without being supervised by an expert. I now know that I have failed my first test. During the inspection, I found that the joint where the downtube connects to the bottom bracket shell was starting to crack. It had split about 1/3 of the way around the tube!! So now I have lost all confidence in my bike and just hope that it will make it back to Seattle.

[Sarah: As ya'all know, my Surly is named "Shirley." I asked Craig if he had a name for his bicycle. "No, no name," replied Craig. Bah hambug!

Craig's brakes were a little squeaky the first day of our ride, and so I had dubbed Craig's bike "Squeaky." Craig wasn't too fond of the name, understandably so. But I thought the name was quite fitting. After all, the gray color of Craig's frame resembled the color of a cute, little mouse.

When Craig spotted the crack in his frame, he commented that riding the bike felt like riding a wet noodle. "Al Dente," said Craig, "That will be the name of my bicycle." Waalaa! And so it was that Craig's bicycle earned an official name.

Upon learning about the crack in Craig's frame, all I could think about was Craig's bike collapsing beneath him as he flew down a steep, bumpy hill at a neck-breaking speed. I thought about the call I'd have to make to Craig's wife, Dianne. "Hi Dianne, it's Sarah. Craig had a little accident. Craig's noodles have been spilled -- all of them -- all over the ground."]


  1. I am beginning to believe Craig and I are kindred spirits. Michelle keeps trying to tell me my bikes name is Fred. I keep saying it doesnt have a name. :)

    CRAP cracked frame BAD! especially with those rodes!

    1. If you and Craig are two peas from the same pod, then perhaps Michelle would like to join me in establishing a support group for females who have to deal with nutjobs. :P

      Yeah, cracked frame = very bad. :(

    2. Yep she calls me a nut all the time!

  2. Hiking Day I like you very well. The picture is very beautiful. Thanks for sharing. You are truly to be commended. Your blog posts are very good about.


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