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Cape Flattery trail

Cape Flattery – The End of the Continental USA

I’ve lived in the Seattle area most of my life yet have never been to this unique spot before. So last weekend I decided to make use of the last bit of warm sunshine to take one more short trip to the ocean to check this place off my list. And it was definitely worth it. Aside from the claim to fame as the Northwestern-most spot in the continental United States, it’s a remarkably beautiful place. Even the drive out to the trailhead is beautiful, passing through the wetlands of the Makah tribal lands in the very corner of Washington State.

The hike is a short one, no more than a mile on a very well maintained trail made mostly of rough-hewn planks slightly elevated above the marshy forest floor. As you approach the cliffs the trail gets steeper and the roots of the evergreen trees hugging the coast knot and curl from under the ground like ancient, wrinkled fingers. An easy hike but a climb on the way out.

At the end of the trail – the edge of the Northwest corner of the state – the ocean violently crashes against jagged rocks and spires with a force you can easily imagine would destroy a small ship if it became unlucky enough to be pulled in against the shore. Even on an overcast afternoon the water is a vibrant blue-green, which I didn’t expect. The minerals and fauna of the sea mix to make a Crayola-inspired hue that contrasts deeply with the white spray of breaking waves and the dark granite of the rocks.

Directly across from the tip of the lookout is the Cape Flattery lighthouse, still in service above a tiny rugged island a half mile or so off shore. I imagine on a calmer day one would see numerous fishing vessels from the nearby towns, but with the rough seas there was no sign of life other than sea birds perched safely on spires out of reach of the waves.

Cameras used: Fuji X100S, Sigma DP2 Merrill

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