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Summer Road Trip 2018, Part 13: Cape Flattery

On Tuesday afternoon, I received a call from Mariah at Wilder Honda letting me know the CV-axel had arrived, the repair was completed, and Ellie was ready to be picked up.

After five days of exploring Olympic National Park in Ansel, the black Honda Insight on loan from the dealership, it was time to get back on track.

I transferred my gear from Ansel back into Ellie, paid the $800 repair bill and got back on the road.

The breakdown put me a little behind schedule. I made the best of my extra time by exploring Olympic National Park in more depth but it was time to move on from Olympic and get down to Mount Rainer National Park.

I had a couple of places to see before leaving Olympic. The first was Cape Flattery, which sits at the extreme northwest corner of the lower 48. The cape itself is technically not the United States but rather it's a tribal reservation of the Makkah. It was a place I'd always intended to visit but purposely waited for the opportunity to do it in Ellie.

It was early in the afternoon when I finally got back on the road so my trip to the cape would have to wait for the following day. The first order of business was to find a place to camp for the night.

I headed west from Port Angeles and, for the first time, I had Ellie on the stretch of US Highway 101 that I'd been traveling on for almost a week. I decided to checkout the Elwha River Valley road that I'd passed up in Ansel a few days earlier. The park entrance was closed to vehicles just beyond the boundry sign. I parked briefly to take a short walk along the bank of the mighty Elwha River.

From the Elwha River Valley, I continued west on US-101, pulling over along Lake Crescent to appreciate the fact that Ellie was back in commission.

The smoke from the California wildfires had settled over the lake giving it a hazy sense of depth as I gazed to the lake's opposite shore.

I pulled into the Crescent Lodge to stretch my legs and have a quick beer. The midweek crowd was light and the activity along the shore seemed serene compared to the weekend hustle and bustle a few days earlier.

I left the lodge and continued on US-101, pulling off at La Poel, a fabulous day use area on the shore of Lake Crescent. La Poel is a hidden gem that's easy to pass up but totally worth the detour.

Just beyond the shores of Lake Crescent, I turned on the road to Soleduck Valley to see if any pullouts suitable for camping were available. I drove as far as the park boundry, but decided to return to US-101 and continue looking for a better place park for the night.

It was beginning to get dark so the need for a place to camp was starting to feel urgent. Unfortunately, it was too late to expect availability at any of the park campgrounds so I continued down US-101 looking for pullout options.

The second place I wanted to see was the Hoh Rain Forest so I headed toward that area of Olympic National Park. The stretch of road between US-101 and the Hoh Rain Forest park entrance had several promising pullouts that would make a good place to park for the night.

I continued to the park boundry to get a picture of Ellie by the Hoh Rain Forest sign.

After getting the picture, I returned to the best pullout I'd seen on my way in. It was almost dark when I backed into the pullout where I planned to spend the night.

The next morning I was back on the road heading out to Cape Flattery. From the Sol Duc valley, I caught US Highway 113 toward the coast then took US Highway 112 along the southern shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

I stopped to read a series of signs at the entrance to the Makkah Tribal Reservation. I had a cooler of beer but decided to proceed with caution.

I visited the Makkah Museum to purchase a day pass that is required to park at the Cape Flattery trailhead. The gentleman working the counter tried to talk me out of purchasing the pass, ensuring me the sign at the reservation's entrance was overstated and that a pass would not be necessary at the trailhead. I purchase the pass anyway as a donation and continued to the cape.

From the parking lot, I continued up a gravel road. Before I knew it, I was at a dead end with another hiker, Zoey, who I was talking with just before realizing we'd went the wrong way.

We soon found the proper trail and continued our conversation about the previous year's eclipse on the hike out to the bluffs.

The view of the Pacific Ocean was fantastic from high atop the bluffs of Cape Flattery. The air was cool and the wind was gusty as the waves crashed against the jagged cliffs.

We explored the cape overlooks and took several pictures before returning to the parking lot to continue on our separate ways.

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