Thinking ’bout a beach

Posted by Ken Campbell May 13, 2012 0 Comment 1272 views
The roadless coast of the Olympic Peninsula sees its share of backpackers each summer. The beach hike is pretty popular – some sections of it anyway – and along with the Wonderland Trail and the Ptarmigan Traverse, it would have to be considered one of the classic hikes in Washington State.
Because the coastline is so convoluted, however, so punctuated by rocky headlands and cliffs that make beach travel difficult in some places and impossible in others, hikers don’t see the whole shoreline. The trail leaves the beach in many places, climbing up to the forest above to get around the obstacles, and the result is that there are portions of the coast that are virtually unseen by anyone. So, even though there may be a few thousand backpackers out there in any given summer, even though the beaches are often scoured by cleanup efforts, there is still a substantial portion of the Olympic coast that doesn’t see human visitors.
Unless they come by kayak. The sea kayak is the ideal craft to get to the places that can’t be explored any other way. Through the rock gardens, past the arches and standing stones, up to the remote pocket beaches of sand and gravel that hide among the cliffs. (I think it could be done by SUP as well, but that is a story that will have to wait for another time.) 
The relative inaccessibility of some of these spots is the rationale for the Ikkatsu Expedition, set to begin in about 3 weeks. With the tsunami debris on the way/here already, it seemed to us that kayaks were the perfect way to document the impact on places that are not often seen at all. 
I have paddled this coast on different occasions in years past; some of the sections I’ve done at least a dozen times, others only once. I’ve never been a part of a kayaking project as interesting as this though, as timely and as relevant. I’ve never been involved in filming a kayak adventure before, or conducting scientific surveys as part of a paddling expedition. 
This stretch of coastline is my favorite place to kayak in the world. So far.  

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