In Search of the Lighthouse

We weren’t planning to do the whole thing. It was 5-1/2 miles to the lighthouse and 5-1/2 back, hiking over rocks, driftwood and whatever else a low tide reveals on Dungeness Spit .

It had been a couple years since doing any long distance walking, and a year since I’d done anything over 3 miles. Slowly regaining my endurance following cancer, I agreed to try half of it. It would be a challenge and a nice way to spend time with friends.

Dungeness Spit is on the Northern coast of The Olympic Peninsula and is a National Wildlife Refuge. The hike starts on a 1/2 mile path through the woods where deer greeted us as we descended to the beach. We could see miles of beach, which lead to a yet-to-be seen lighthouse.

In order to do the whole distance, you must plan to go when the tide is completely out. We planned accordingly, just in case. We went on a Sunday morning. It was quiet, except for marine birds and an occasional vessel traveling along The Straight of Juan De Fuca. It was clear enough for us to see Vancouver Island, B.C. and the air smelled of salt and briny vegetation.

Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. Like I said, we weren’t planning on doing the whole thing, but once we saw the lighthouse, something started stirring – a revived sense of motivation. I did not want to be the one to wimp out. We kept going, but it seemed like we were never making ground on the lighthouse. Two hours later when we finally arrived, we found this sign “Reality 5-1/2 Miles.”

I felt a surge of accomplishment, as well as a desire to drop right there in the sand for a nap. Instead, we had a snack, toured the lighthouse and museum, and took a few pictures to prove we made it.

For those that are serious about lighthouses, this National Wildlife Refuge offers the opportunity for volunteers to staff the light keeper’s cottage. Under the Lighthouse Keeper Program, you can rent the place for a week at a time in exchange for a very reasonable fee and some light duties, such as grounds maintenance and greeting of tourists. The family on duty had the place looking pristine.

Heading back, I took one final photograph of the expansive beach. It really was a long way! I needed to concentrate on keeping one foot in front of the other.

When we arrived back at the refuge access point, we told the rangers we had located the lighthouse and they “high-fived” us. I asked them where the celebratory whisky shots were, and they replied that we had “missed” them (haha!) To celebrate our 11 mile accomplishment, we had an early dinner and cocktails at Nourish Sequim, a small locally sourced/organic restaurant in Sequim, WA. That day’s fixed dinner menu was in honor of Ukraine, and the dishes were traditional and delicious. If you’re headed towards the Olympic Peninsula, check out the Dungeness Spit and surrounding area. You won’t be sorry, but you need to be ready!

What’s one of your favorite long distance walks or hikes? Let me know if the comments.

21 thoughts on “In Search of the Lighthouse

  1. That hike sounds wonderful, Tracey (and congrats for not turning around at the halfway point). Funny, I just read an article in our local paper about lavender shortbread cookies made with lavender purchased in Sequim… they sounded yummy. I remember when we visited a few years ago and saw those glorious fields of purple. I wish I had known about Nourish Sequim back then πŸ™‚

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  2. Wonderful! ❀️barb P. S. I think you should write a book. You have a gift like Mike Tanner and his blog.

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  3. That sounds like a great hike! And a yummy dinner to top it off. Congratulations on taking it to the next level.

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  4. Congratulations Tracey, that is quite the hike. I love lighthouses, but would not likely walk 11 miles to view one. You definitely earned your dinner. I love that photo through the trees. Wouldn’t want to miss calculate high tide out there.

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  5. You did it! Talk about “powering through” and all that. Congrats to you, that’s very impressive. Love the views from the house. Also that restaurant looks wonderful; I checked out the menu and am dying for their pan seared flat iron steak now. πŸ˜‰ – Marty

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  6. I enjoyed reading about your hike. Congrats on going the distance! Love seeing pictures from the opposite side of the country. I hope to get a few hikes in while we’re in North Carolina…but not 11 miles!

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    • Thank you Anna, and thanks for stopping by. I took a peak at your blog and looks like you might really enjoy some hikes while you are there taking care of things. Sorry for your recent loss.

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  7. Congrats on doing it! I know I’m so lucky to have had a long layoff from such exertions by choice, though I miss my long walks with good friends like this one you took. The last one I had like that was along the beach path in Orange County, CA (Newport and Huntington Beaches). Hoping to start new ones like that in my new home in Kalamazoo, MI.

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