April 19th, 2013 | by Dave Ingram | Record a Comment
Published in Beaches, Destinations, Dunes, Landscapes, Pacific Northwest, Washington
Tags: Gray's Harbour, Landscape Photography, Tokeland, Washington, Washington State Parks, Westport, Westport Light State Park
After a long bash of a drive from Port Angeles to Tokeland with stops at Sol Duc Falls and Rialto Beach, I was ready for a couple of days in one place. I had one night reserved at the very cool Tokeland Hotel and decided that it was worth spending an extra night to really explore the beaches to the north and south of Gray’s Harbour.
Tokeland is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s well positioned to visit the spectacular beaches that stretch up the coast to Westport and the entrance of Gray’s Harbour. Westport Light State Park was my morning destination after fueling up with coffee and a typical American eggs and bacon breakfast at the Tokeland Hotel.
This early in the season (end of March) the beach was pretty much deserted. I can only imagine what it would be like in the summer time as the sand was gorgeous and the dunes provided a striking backdrop to the waves and beach. I walked along the upper path through the dunes before finding a place where a side trail accessed the beach without too much of a drop.
I had walked a fair way north along the beach through the dunes and it was nice to a bit closer to the water. I poked along the drift line a bit and photographed some of the logs that were washed up along the base of the steep dunes. It was then that I noticed the vehicle tracks.
I guess I wasn’t really aware of how common it is to drive vehicles on the beach in the United States. It might be that there’s more flat sand to drive on and the beaches are easily accessible, compared to the west coast of Canada. Even though I had the beach pretty much to myself, these vehicle tracks really changed the experience for me.
I also found some coloured bubbles in the sand and wondered if they were natural or perhaps a result of leaking oil and gas. The park website does say that vehicles and ATVs aren’t allowed on the beach and dunes, but I imagine that it’s challenging to enforce.
I made my way back to the car enjoying the sound of the ocean and looking for more natural treasures like shells and sand dollars and bits of other things washed up by the tide and the waves. Of course, I didn’t take anything home with me aside from some photographs.
The beach along the coast at Westport is gorgeous and it’s good to know that the superficial marks that we leave behind are quickly erased by the power of wind and water.
From Aberdeen, Washington take Route 105 along Gray’s Harbour towards Westport. Turn right at South Forrest Street when you hit the “T” junction. Turn left onto Ocean Avenue West which will take you down to the parking area. Note that there is a large resort/timeshare like complex on the beach at the parking area. There’s regular free street parking on Ocean Avenue and a paid Discover Pass parking area.