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10/12/16 - Second Beach

With the Elwha Valley trails and the Spruce Railroad Trail closed we’ve been getting back to the west coast beaches. We had explored Rialto Beach and made our way to the coast at Third Beach, so this time we checked out Second Beach, which is probably our favorite. The day was bright, and the tide was low, so we made our way through the forest, down the bluff and then south along the beach to the sea cave and tide pools. It was an easy, relaxing walk, though we were both tired on the climb back.

The view to the north with the Hole in the Wall

Our first look at the beach

Sea stacks - Second Beach has a lot of them

Another view of the sea stacks

A sea stack reflected

Anemones - the green ovals - but no star fish

Another sea stack reflected

The driftwood where the trail meets the beach

The treasure tree, nicely fed

Forest trail …

… and more forest trail

Keywords: beaches, second beach, trails


06/26/16 - Second Beach at Low Tide

We took advantage of the lovely, sunny day and the -0.3 foot low tide at La Push to get out and explore Second Beach. The forest was alive with green light filtering through the trees, and there was an array of driftwood to clamber over to get to the beach, but the beach was broad and beautiful. Even better, the tide looked enough for us to get out to one of the usually isolated sea stacks.

We made our way along the beach and started our approach. There was a spit of sand jutting out towards the sea stack, but it ended a bit short. There was still a channel to cross, so we took off our shoes and laid them on what passed for high ground. Then we waded out. The water came over our knees, but only for a few steps. Then we were approaching the caves at the base of the sea stack.

We made our way around to the tide pools, and there we saw them - starfish. There was a starfish plague a year or two ago, and it wiped out just about every starfish in the Pacific northwest, even the ones in aquariums. But, here in the tide pools at the base of this inaccessible sea stack, there were starfish, dozens of them. They were clutching the rocks by the pools full of anemones. It was really good to see them.

We only spent so long at the sea stack. The tide was already rising, and our shoes were in imminent danger. We reclaimed them and walked south along beach revealed only when the tide was this low. We made our way to the little sea cave at the southern end of the beach, braving the clouds of sea mist that swirled along the beach. Out at sea we could see the Pacific mist condensing into purplish clouds out past the line of sea stacks.

All told it was an amazing visit. Even when the tide is negative, the isolated sea stack is often still unreachable. We had only made our way out there once before, so getting back out there again was a real treat.


This sea stack is only accessible when the tide is extremely low and the sand available permits.

The caves at the base of the sea stack

A view out to sea

Starfish!

More starfish

Starfish and anemones

The other seastacks

The beach looking south

Sea stacks at the southern end of the beach

The sea cave and lots of sea weed

Another view

Keywords: la push, second beach


08/25/14 - Second Beach - Surf's Up

We were out at Second Beach for a moderate low tide. Most of the driftwood where the trail meets the beach is gone, so it was easy going. The tidal flats were broad and sandy, but wet. There was a bit of ocean fog which lent an air of mystery to the scene. The tide was still going out when we arrived, so we slop-slop-slopped our way along the beach to the south.

There were a lot of folks camping, including a den of pirates, possibly hiding out from the minions of the RIAA. We also saw a few surfers, black forms in their wet suits. They splashed their way out from shore, then rode the waves gracefully back to the shallows. Second Beach is not a tropical paradise like Waikiki. It's a more mysterious place with fog, cold water and an essential wildness, and all the more attractive for it.

We made our way to the sea cave and tide pools at the south end of the beach and are sad to report that there were no star fish there. They've been dying from some mysterious disease, but we had hopes.


Ocean fog and low tide

More fog

Wide, flat beach

Magical light

Pirate's den

Surfers

Actually surfing

More surfing

Homeward bound

The rocks and tide pools

Anemones, but no starfish

Keywords: second beach


10/18/13 - Second Beach

Second Beach was one of the handful of park trails that were open during the government shutdown. The parking lot is on Quileute tribal land, though much of the trail and the beach itself are part of the park. We took the short walk through the rain forest down to the sea. It's not a real long walk, maybe three quarters of a mile, but the trees are wild, green and covered with moss.

The beach itself was easy to reach. First there is a little climb, then the forest walk, and then the twisting descent through the forest to the beach. There are glimpses of the ocean as the trail descends. Then, trail breaks out to the beach, wide, bright and open. It almost feels like going outside, but first there is the driftwood. Some years there is quite a substantial barrier. Some years it is a simple step onto the sand. Right now, most of the driftwood is gone. There is some, but it's more of a simple maze than a challenge course.

We were two hours before low tide, but it was a very low tide, so there was a lot of wet beach, gray and sparkling. The seastacks were as magical as ever. They almost seem impossible, or at least improbable, but there they are, remnants of an eroding shoreline, each with its own watershed and forested topping, an ecological island of fresh water surrounded by salt.

We made our way south, stopping to explore a few tidal pools and checking out the star fish and anemomes. The tide was far out and there was a lot of sand. We walked the still wet sand to the little sea cave and then made our way out towards the headland. In winter, this area is often rocky, but it was still summer here. We explored the coves and the rocks at the base of the far seastacks, then, well before low tide we started home.


A modest driftwood barrier

The sea and sand

A seastack

Another seastack and a tidepool

The rocks

The headland

Exploring

An anemone

and friends

Starfish hideout

and more starfish

Keywords: second beach, trails


07/12/12 - Second Beach

Second Beach is just south of La Push, and it's one of our favorite beaches. We took the 3/4 mile walk through the rain forest down to the beach. The trail was a bit muddy and the air still. As we approached the beach the air freshened, and we were greeted by the driftwood wall. There was a fair bit of driftwood, but a lot less than on our last visit. We had to climb, but a lot of the really big logs were washed back out to sea.

The beach was easy walking, just a broad sand plain. There seemed to be more sand than usual, and some of the rocks we'd see along the shore appeared to be more deeply buried than we remembered. This was particularly noticeable on narrow section of beach towards the sea cave with many familiar rocks less visible and a deeply cut stream channel running through the sand.

In contrast, the entrance to the sea cave was rocky. All of the sand there had washed out. The tide was low, but not a real low low tide, so we didn't visit the hidden beaches past the cave, though we could see a lot more rocks and a lot less sand.

We had a nice picnic lunch on the beach, and made our way home through the forest, pausing to admire the Treasure Tree which was sporting a variety of pretty stones, bright red berries and feathers. We're not sure who contributes, but they've done a great job. Unlike Rialto Beach nearby, Second Beach is a hidden beach, not visible from the road and a special treasure because of this.


Seastacks across the driftwood

Seastacks and the hole in the wall

Tide pools and lots of sand

Approach to the sea cave

A stream makes a deep cut in the sand.

The rocky sea cave entrance and more seastacks

View from the sea cave entrance

Staircase home

The Treasure Tree with feathers, berries, stones

More of the Treasure Tree, the main stash

The big candelabrum tree - impressive, even with one arm broken

Keywords: beaches, la push, second beach


06/14/11 - Second Beach Driftwood Report

We were out at Second Beach around low tide on a gray day. We could smell the salt air as we descended to the beach from the rain forest. The driftwood pile at the beach was there, but it had changed since last autumn. The two big logs that formed the waterfront rampart were gone, presumably washed out to sea. The structure had changed in other ways as well. Our familiar clamber to the sea was gone. We had to figure out a new series of ups, downs, overs and alongs.

The payoff was as wonderful as ever. The beach was broad, flat and firm. There was a bit of mist in the distance, but otherwise we had good clear views. We made our way south, avoiding the puddles of left over ocean and admiring the huddled star fish and anemones as we explored. It was pretty easy going. The beach had lots of sand, so it was easy getting to the little cave. We lacked the energy to go much farther, not really wanting to deal with the barnicle and seaweed encrusted rocks.

We saved our strength for the climb out, a clamber back over the driftwood and then a brutal 200 foot or so climb out. If we're sounding pathetic here, we apologize. We often go to Second Beach when we are tired. It's a great place to recover with some sea air and spectacular scenery. This was no exception. We came back much invigorated by the sea.








Keywords: second beach


09/05/10 - Second Beach Report

There was less driftwood at Second Beach than we had to clamber over last time. Presumably, it's been washing out to sea. In contrast, there is more sand on the beach. We were able to walk to the little sea cave at the south end of the beach without walking on any rocks. Our path was all sand. There was even a little ledge of sand that we could sit on while we ate our sandwiches.

There's less driftwood than last time.

Sort of dreamy landscape

Tide pools

Sea stacks

Lots more sand

Decorated with feathers ...

and little stones and shells and ...

Keywords: second beach


05/04/10 - Second Beach

We'll start by apologizing for some of these photos not being quite level. The wind was just too fierce to hold the camera steady. That said, the scenery was pretty spectacular at Second Beach the other day. Even at low tide, the waters were wild, and the wind had the sea foam flying. We didn't even walk all that far down the beach. The winds from the south were just too much for us.

On the plus side, the big pile of driftwood seems to be shrinking. The clamber out to the beach was much easier than we had expected, and several of the really big logs seemed to have drifted back out to sea.


Fewer logs than last time

Low tide

Wild weather

The arch

A starfish

Wild water

Gray skies

Keywords: second beach, weather


02/22/10 - Second Beach

Have we mentioned that we're having great beach weather? This is Second Beach, our favorite west end beach.

The driftwood maze

Tidepools and seastacks

The reflected sky

Keywords: second beach


01/25/10 - Second Beach

There were some good tides at Second Beach, so we went for a walk. The driftwood wall has been rebuilding, but we still managed to clamber out to the beach. This time there was brilliant light and a faint haze.

More driftwood

Oooh, arty!

Lens flare - too much Star Trek: The Reboot

A wide, wet beach

More wide, wet beach

Keywords: second beach


01/08/10 - The Driftwood Is Coming Back To Second Beach

The driftwood is coming back to Second Beach. If you click on the second beach keyword, you'll see that we last reported an almost complete lack of driftwood between the trailhead and the beach. In fact, you could just step down from the trail to the beach with no further ado, but now the driftwood is coming back. It's nothing like it was last summer where one had to clamber over log after log, but there is a nice collection of logs piling up.

The view from the trailhead

Pretty

More pretty

The wild beach

Seastacks down near the cave

Keywords: second beach


11/13/09 - Second Beach and Winter

We took advantage of a brief break in the clouds and a good afternoon tide to visit Second Beach, one of our favorite West End beaches and well under a 90 minute drive from Port Angeles. We made our muddy way through the woods and encountered our first surprise at the beach. We had been expecting the usual clamber from the trail access to the beach proper, but all but a few of the logs were gone. Just as they had been mysteriously washed ashore some years back, they had been washed out to sea some time since our last visit in July.

We arrived to mixed cloudy skies and a falling tide, but to the west we could see the clouds and pillars of rain closing. We sat on a log and ate our tuna salad sandwiches from Good To Go. A fellow visitor warned us the weather was changing. Then we headed south along the beach. The sky grew grayer and darker. The water was a bit high to make it to the sea cave and the wind was rising from the south. We turned about and headed back. The drizzle started, then turned to rain. At least we didn't have a monkey playground of wet logs to clamber over. We dodged to the muddy safety of the woods and made our way home.


A real weather sky

You can see the rain showers coming in.

The sky was mixed when we arrived.

The sky turned gray as we explored.

More gray skies.

How the trail access looks now - just a few logs

How it looked before - lots of logs

Keywords: beaches, good to go, second beach, weather


07/19/09 - Mysterious Second Beach

Sea stacks are always mysterious. They rise from the beach, but anything could be up there. Sometimes one sees roses or wild strawberries, but, since we are not great climbers, what ever else is up there is well hidden. There could even be farms and towns and forests, like the ones in New Guinea, waiting for discovery from the air. Sea fog only makes them more mysterious, so we made the most of the gray on our most recent visit to Second Beach.

The view from the mouth of the sea cave

Mysterious sea stack

The sky tries to turn blue

Another mysterious seastack

Starfish and tide pools

Misty forest

The coastal view

Keywords: second beach


05/20/09 - Second Beach and Pacific Fog

It was a sunny day in Port Angeles, and it stayed sunny as we headed west, but as we approached the Pacific, the sky turned gray and the sun vanished. On our last few trips to Second Beach, the sky had stayed sunny, but this time we got to enjoy the Pacific Fog. In some ways, we could see more with less light, because there was less glare. The cliffs seemed more jagged, the barnicles fiercer and the forests atop the seastacks greener.

On our way back, the sun returned as we journeyed inland, and we had a sunny journey home.






Keywords: second beach


05/01/09 - Springtime at Second Beach

Second Beach is also showing signs of spring. There was a good low tide, so we went exploring. To start with, the beach is huge. The spring tides bring in sand, so we had lots of beach to explore, and the rocks and caves at the south end of the beach were easy clambering since so many of the rocks have been buried and little pools filled in with seasonal sand. There were also a lot more starfish and anemones, or at least more anemones visible.

A little starfish

The big beach

Starfish waiting out the low tide

We'll call these cocktail olive anemones.

This is a hollow tree an the trail to the beach. People have placed shells on its shelves as offerings.

Skunk cabbage in bloom

Now that we've been sensitized we are seeing trilliums everywhere.

Keywords: second beach, spring, tides, trillium


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