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July 10, 2009 / Greg Vaughn

Shi Shi Beach and Point of Arches

Point of Arches and Shi Shi Beach at dusk.

Point of Arches and Shi Shi Beach at dusk.

Olympic National Park in Washington state is a wondrous place, with environments ranging from snow-covered volcanic peaks to lush temperate rainforest to wild and remote Pacific coast. A couple of weeks ago I visited the Olympic Peninsula, accompanied by Laurent Martres, publisher of the PhotoTripUSA guidebook series. Laurent and I did an overnight backpack hike to Shi Shi Beach and Point of Arches. It’s possible to do this trail as a dayhike, but we really wanted to catch sunset and early morning light, and with the sun setting after 9pm in summer at this latitude, that would make for a very long day and not getting back to the trailhead until about midnight.

We’d hoped for some nice, wispy clouds at sunset, but settled for slightly hazy clear skies on a remarkably calm and warm day, and we hit the tides just right to include an interesting rock formation as a foreground to the sea stacks at Point of Arches. We also got a minus tide just after dawn the next morning, which exposed some of the most beautiful tidepools I’ve ever seen, filled with sea stars, anemones and a variety of interesting seaweed.

Point of Arches is truly spectacular.  On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a 12, and it just jumped to the top of my list for most scenic location on the whole west coast.

For more photos from the Olympic Peninsula, please visit my Olympic National Park photo gallery on my website.


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  1. cherokeebydesign / Jul 10 2009 10:18 am

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