Though there was no alarm to wake me, I still found myself awake in the early, dark hours of the morning. When I realized it was not raining at the moment, I went outside to relieve myself. And, soon after, the rain started up again. I recorded some of it on the Go-Pro though mostly the view is pitch dark. The sound of the rain on the tent is lovely. 

I went back to sleep easily, waking maybe one more time during another lull in the rain to pee again before it was time to get up. I mean, not that there was a specific time that I had to get up, I just felt like it. 

And it’s such a nice change of pace to be able to get up when I feel like it instead of getting up because I have to start moving. We wouldn’t be taking down the tent today, and any walking we did was purely optional. No need to heave a pack to the back at any point! 

Before breakfast, I took the Go-Pro for a little walk around the tide pools. I found a whole lot of starfish hanging out in various damp places. There are some tide islands that become accessible during low tide that I’ve seen day hikers go up to. I got as close as I could to them without scrambling – I wasn’t wearing appropriate footwear for scrambling, even if I’d wanted to do that work on this day. Which I didn’t. 

This day was all about resting and recovering as much as possible for the turnaround the next day. We’d taken 4 and a half days to get here, but the way back would be 3 and a half days. Now, the advantage was that our packs were a lot lighter than on Day 0, and they’d keep getting lighter every day. But on a ten day trip like this, the effects on the body are cumulative. The more rest and recovery we could squeeze into this day, the better. 

But we couldn’t just laze about all day, even if we were inclined to do so. Camp chores still needed tending. Sure, the tent was up and didn’t need to come down, but we still needed to collect and filter water, cook lunch and dinner, dry out our gear, rearrange the food and trash in our bear canisters, and stretch. 

The beach was different this year than in 2018. I don’t know if it’s just because we arrived on a Sunday instead of a Friday or if there are simply less people here 3 years after the pandemic than there were 2 years before it. But there were no tents in sight, and only a small trickle of people walking out to our end of the beach. 

We had a hot lunch for the first time of the trip. Mango Sticky Rice, yum! Plus some Spam Singles, because you can’t have just one thing for lunch out there – even on a rest day. 

Both Ambrose and I took the opportunity to dry off our boots and socks and anything else that was even slightly damp, because once the rain ended around 9 am, the sun came out. It was a beautiful day. 

I had had some doubts, the day before, about whether pitching in the sand was going to be the best for us. The bluff did have some nice looking spots, and the ground was kind of sandy. I am so glad that I did not pitch up on the bluff! The rain had transformed the “kind of sandy” ground up there into really nasty mud,and we would have had to walk through that any time we got up to pee while it was raining (and well after). Instead, we were on the sand, where the water drained through without forming any puddles. It was the best spot we’d had so far for sheer comfort.

As the day wore on, more people did show up to camp. A tent became just barely visible from ours in the late afternoon, and by the time evening rolled around, there were folks looking for spots. If anyone had asked, I think we would have let them up onto our bluff, but no one did, not even the family group with one kid wearing a pack that had to be more than two thirds of his bodyweight. In fact, that group hiked on past Shi Shi, and I don’t think they were going to make it much farther with the tide being in. 

It was a good day. A day that allowed us both to rest and recover. All my gear would be dry the next morning, and we had one last night on the soft, soft sand to sleep. I did not try to stay up for the sunset. We wouldn’t have to get up at an absurdly early hour, but we did need to get up early to make our itinerary.

3 Replies to “Olympic Coast 2023 – Day 5”

  • Thanks for this set of blog posts. I’m planning this trail in May and have found decent trip reports hard to find. These are more than decent! I feel enlightened. Congrats on a great hike.

    • From looking at a May 2024 tide chart, I’d do the trip between May 12th and May 20th for the lowest high tides. Looks like the tide height for the lowest high tides during those dates would be 6 feet. Hiking by the 5’s, the waits for high tide to be over with would be shorter.

      • Thank you (and congrats to you too on the hike). I’d been looking up those exact dates myself. The low-tide cutoffs on some parts of this trail seem pretty long, so better to plan ahead.

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