Backpacking on the Cape

Warm weather has finally come to the PNW, and to help welcome the sun we decided to head out on a little backpacking trip. Some of the best hiking here can be found along the beautiful Pacific coast. It has easy trails, with a great reward and perfect playground waiting at the end.

When you have a toddler, who insists on doing everything himself, it can be difficult to pick just the right destination. We knew we needed something that would allow our little adventurer to wander and would be worth the trek. So, we decided on Cape Alava.


Way out on the Pacific Coast, off Hwy 101, 80 miles past Port Angeles, lies Cape Alava.  This cape is the westernmost point in the contiguous 48 states. It can be a long drive from most any point in the PNW, but with a hike in of just 3 miles on mostly boardwalk covered wood and marsh lands, we knew his little legs could make it with minimal effort.

I wish I could say this trip went off with out a hitch, but as with any event that involves a toddler, that almost NEVER happens. We had a 3.5hr drive from home to the trailhead, with a small stop at the Port Angeles Ranger Station to pick up our backcountry permit.  With about 30min to go from the main turn off, Samuel started to complain of an upset stomach. I tried my hardest to keep his mind off what I knew was coming, but much to my dismay, he let everything go. Pulling off the road, I could only sigh out loud, and hope this was not an omen for the rest of our trip. Cleaning up as best we could, we loaded back into the truck, and made our way to the Ozette/ Cape Alava  trailhead.


Finally arriving at the trailhead, we unloaded our gear, strapped on our packs, and headed off down the trail.  The first 2 miles went great! We counted the steps on the boardwalk over and over. We practiced our skipping, and played tag. All things to keep little feet moving.



It was the last mile that Samuel began to slow, and started sitting down. So to keep up the motivation, the “fruit snack fairy” made an appearance. I walked a little ahead and placed a fruit snack along the trail for Samuel to find. It was just the motivation he needed to to complete the last bit of trail, and make it to camp.

Making our way down the beach we picked out the perfect spot for the night. While mom and dad were busy setting up camp, Samuel played in the sand digging and building with drift wood. After camp was set up, we took a stroll down the beach to collect water and watch the sunset. I always enjoy camping on the Olympic coast. The mix of lush greenery and the rocky ocean shores are almost magical. And, there is the added bonus of being able to build fires right on the shore.


This little getaway ended up being the perfect way to welcome the sun and get out of the city for a bit. Sometimes we just need to strap on our packs and the leave the world behind us.




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