Caves

Posted by Ken Campbell June 2, 2008 0 Comment 437 views

I leave Tacoma in the morning. A low fog hangs over the streets, gray skies and a stiff breeze. Not many cars on the road between Bremerton and Port Angeles. Sort of feels like I have the road to myself. It’s a Sunday, but even at that, it’s a quiet one.

I pull into Port Angeles at about 8:00 am. Straight to the gas station to top her off. Before the prices go up again. (For the record, that Port Angeles Safeway gas cost me $4.15/gallon). Farther west, near Joyce, a deer jumps out onto the road not far ahead of me. He looks right at me and holds my eye for a moment and then he’s gone. Down into the underbrush on the right, down the hillside.

When I get to Neah Bay, I go right to the campground at Hobuck Beach. These days it’s the best place to park for an out-and-back, and not a bad place to camp as well. You can do day trips out of here to some of the most beautiful spots in Washington, or just play in the surf near shore. The water is flat when I get ready to go, and paddling out through the shore break is uneventful.

I get to Cape Flattery in a hurry. There is a strong current close to shore that pushes me north and I cover the miles quickly. In just over an hour, I am ducking in towards Hole-in-the-Wall, a bay just south of the cape. The tide is almost at its high point and I am able to access most of the best caves; there is one passage that leads north out of Hole-in-the-Wall, goes out through the arch just south of the cape, then immediately back into a cleft in the rock that seems to travel north through the dark voodoo rock. Other caves split off from this one (which ends at the beach where I’m planning to camp), and I play among them, riding the force of the swell along ribbons of water, a part of both the land and the sea.

I come ashore as the tide turns and set up camp in the sand behind a large drift log. Dinner is chili with crackers and cheese, along with fruit cocktail and cookies for dessert. And a Tecate. I get the hatchet and cut a hunk of storm-tossed cedar into kindling and as the darkness falls, the crackling beach fire throws shadows on the old cliff walls. A line of clouds moves across the northern horizon, obscuring the mountains of Vancouver Island.

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