Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2004

The Olympic Peninsula in Washington, USA


You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

In many ways, the Pacific Northwest of the USA (like many parts of New England) does not seem part of the USA we know and glance askance at, as represented to us by Fox News, Hollywood, and the Republicans and Christians wherever they may be lurking.

THIS is not bad at all!!! And here we are, who knows where this idea came from, but it was a good one -- airlifted from our safe haven in neutral Europe to dine well at the backyard trough in Framingham near Boston and stop in at the Gardner once again, then wafted -- wafted is close, but not quite the right word -- in an airborne fruit-tin with under-achieving ventilation equipment out to Seattle, State of Washington, to climb into a hired car and push on out to LA PUSH. More on that in a minute. First . . .

HOH RAIN FOREST

On our way to La Push, 17 July 2004, we need to look in on the Hoh Rain Forest, part of the Olympic National Park -- not all of us are equally appreciative of great whacking trees packed on top of one another with nasty dripping vines hanging all off them, but some of us are inordinately, so here we are at Five Mile Island on the Hoh Rain Forest Trail towards Mount Olympus -- only five miles (8km) out on a 17-mile path to the Olympus base camp at Glacier Meadows, but that's enough for today.

Kristin views the mighty Hoh from Five Mile Island.

The central parts of the Olympic National Park were only opened up by late-nineteenth century three-month-long expeditions, and there are still very few roads into the interior, namely Hoh River, Sol Duc, and Hurricane Ridge. Otherwise, you're on your own (even if, like Mr Peck [right] you've lost your socks).

The rain forest hikers prepare to . . . to . . . well . . . well, to push on for La Push.

A look at the still very distant interior of the Olympic National Park from Five Mile Island, as we retreat.


LA PUSH and the Quileute Reservation

La Push, a beach-side "resort" owned and operated by the Quileute Indians on their 1 sq. km reservation at La Push (from the French 'La Bouche', the mouth of the Quillayute and Sol Duc river). Nice little self-catering two room flats with balconies, in our part of it -- not very well kept up, in fact this photo was shot from around the duct tape holding the picture window together, but the price is right, the people are very nice, and reinvestment seems to be concentrated upon some of the other, newer (pricier) buildings just nearby.

James Island just offshore, where Quileutes used to retire and draw the ladders up when the Makahs showed up with their war-paint smeared on. The Quileute "resort" also has a very nice BYOB restaurant on the river dockside, excellent inexpensive dinners, especially fish things, and free wine glasses and a bottle opener for your convenience.

The tourist literature of the Quileutes and other tribes on the Olympic Peninsula is a fascinating study in wire-walking tones. The brochures genuinely promise friendly welcomes for all white visitors who want both to relax and to learn about indigenous cultures, and find artful words to disguise the most ferocious animosity about all that has been taken from them. The Quileutes of La Push point out that they once roamed the Peninsula as far inland as Mount Olympus, but lost all but the coastal strip in the Point No Point treaty of 1855. They welcome you to that stunningly beautiful coastal strip, whilst also pointing out parenthetically that when the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary was established in recent years, they lost that, too, and are now stuck with their one square kilometre.

That said, the people were pretty much wonderful -- we were there, 16-20 July 2004, during the long "Quileute Days" weekend, with street fairs, beauty contests, tennis tournaments, a very festive atmosphere, and police from a hundred nearby jurisdictions and the BIA watching over it all benevolently.

And no casinos here, Thanks Bog. La Push can be reached by automobile, by the way, from the west coast town of Forks, which has little to recommend it except a long history of clear-cut forestry devastation nearby. Pass through Forks looking neither right nor left, that's my advice.

The resort at La Push: http://www.ocean-park.org/index2.html.

Visit to North America, July 2004
Olympic National Park, Washington, USA, July 2004
Hoh Rain Forest and the Quileute Reservation at La Push
Ozette Lake and Cape Alava
Cape Flattery, Rialto Beach, and the Hole in the Wall
Hurricane Ridge and Obstruction Point
Dungeness Spit and Whidbey Island
and then
Visit to Marlowe, Ottawa, Ontario, 2004
The Thousand Islands and Boldt Castle

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 24 September 2004, resized 30 January 2008, 27 April 2013.


Olympic National Park, 2004