Sunset at Cape Flattery? A Great Idea, But...
I'd like to say it was my plan all along: watch the sun set over the Northwestern-most point in the lower 48. But anyone who knows me knows the truth: I was running behind.
It's not my fault really. There was so much to do along the northern edge of Washington's Olympic Peninsula: visit the towns of Port Angeles and Sequim, drive up to Hurricane Ridge, hike to Marymere Falls, and gaze out over deep and sparkling Lake Crescent. Each one begged for my attention, and before I knew it, it was late afternoon.
So, it was time for a new plan. Yes... I could arrive at the cape just in time to watch the sun set. What a perfect way to end the day, watching that big fireball sink into the Pacific, while standing on a cliff high above the sea. A great plan, indeed.
I impatiently rushed past miles of forest, zipped by tiny
Clallam Bay and its famous Running Fish statue, then hurried
along the winding, narrow coastline road to Neah Bay.
Only the tiny fishing town of Neah Bay managed to slow me down. What a depressing place. It seemed like this tiny Indian village had been forgotten by the rest of the world. There was no good place to stay, no inviting restaurant to anticipate on my return from the cape. So I kept on, the sun dropping lower in the sky. Would I make it in time for the sunset?
Past Neah Bay, more forest. A wild animal or two forced me to hit the brakes. Only a minor delay. I was definitely going to make it.
Finally, a curve in the dirt, a fork in the road, and a parking lot. This was it! The trail that would take me to the Pacific. One half mile, through a forest just as thick and foreboding as the one I just drove through. My hastily reworked plan would be a success! I could watch the sun set over the Pacific!
What about the walk back? After sunset? In the dark? Through this wilderness? With those animals?
There really was no other option. I had come too far to turn back now, despite common sense. I had only one choice to make: Run!
With my fear of the darkness and the desire for a few good photos compelling me, I set off down the trail, across boardwalks, over rocks, and through mud that could have easily sucked the shoes from my feet. I ran across it, over it, through it. Along the way I found a few people on their way out. "No, its not far now, you'll make it!" they cheered.
Indeed I did. With the sun just minutes above the horizon, my camera started firing. Any picture would do. There was no time to be Ansel Adams. There was also no time to soak in the incredible scenery. Ten seconds, two deep breaths, and I was on the move again.
With a few dozen photos safely snapped, I took one final look, said a silent "good-bye" to the cape, and started on the journey back to the parking lot. What do you know, the return trip was uphill, the entire way! Perhaps a little less running, and a little more fast walking was in order.
I made it back to my car with just enough sunlight to spare. My heart slowed as I pressed the button, and the lights on my rental car flashed. I wasn't going to end up lost in the woods, stuck in the mud, or devoured by some northwest forest creature.
As I pulled away, I noticed a few people who were just starting out down the path to Cape Flattery. I smiled. "Silly people, don't they know it's going to be dark soon?"
I welcome your feedback. Your thoughts will
make this a better website.
All content and photographs © 2006 TakeMyTrip.com / Daniel Woodrum
View this website's best photos in the Gallery