RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Weekend 2012 - Lake Ozette Washington 


Ozette Lake is the largest unaltered natural lake in Washington state at 2,954 hectacres
The Makah name for Lake Ozette was Kahouk meaning "large lake." Eight miles long and three miles wide, Ozette Lake is contained within the northern boundary of the Olympic National Park's coastal strip. It is 29 feet (~9 m) above sea level and is drained by the Ozette River in the north end. Ozette, Washington lies at the north end of the lake. At 331 feet deep, its bottom lies more than 300 feet below sea level.
There are three islands on Ozette Lake: Tivoli, Garden Island, and Baby Island. Tivoli's sandy shore is a favorite kayaking and canoeing destination for overnight tent campers willing to make the long trip down the lake. Beware of unpredictable weather conditions, as the large surface of the lake is known to fetch large waves rather quickly. (source: Wikipedia)

Finally getting a break in the weather, we made a run for the coast with our Kayaks. For this adventure we were joined by a fellow work colleague and outdoor enthusiast Steve (still working on his outdoor alias name :-)
We left Seattle early Friday morning (~6:00 am) and arrived after lunch at the Lake Ozette Ranger station. Traffic was light and along the way we saw many bald eagles on the beaches and along the road. When we registered at the ranger station, we discovered that we had the entire lake too ourselves. SWEEEEET!!!

The weather was looking good and Steve brought a salmon to cook over the open fire as a pre-easter evening meal. Things were looking good.

Sometimes, we like dessert first. So we start off this blog description with this teaser of a sunset from Tivoli island.  

Before we bagn our paddle adventure, we toured the Ozette Campground. It was flooded.

Only 1/2 the campsites were available as the lake was 4 feet above normal. We have never seen the lake this full before.
Steve loading the gear in the boats. The actual boat launch area was underwater, so we launched from the grassy area near the ranger station.
Out on the water, Joahnn and Steve paddled like pros.

Our designated rest spot for a break was under water.
No place to land.
Steve took the lead.
Johann looked like one of the minutemen under George Washington's command as they crossed the Potomac.
Steve again....
Did we mention that this was Steve's first Kayaking experience. He did fantastic.
Johann coming in for a landing on Tivoli Island for the evening. The last half of our paddle became a bit rough as the winds picked up.

Johann demonstrating his paddle shirt. "Bomber Gear" was promptly displayed on the front with what appeared to be an arrow pointing down. We insited that he had the shirt on backawards. If you know anything about Johann, you would understand. He has been known to have a jet powered Kayak at times... seemingly from an unknown energy source :-)
Lots of campfire wood. We even carried some along, just in case. The wind was picking up, the wood was wet and we had a hard time getting the fire started. This is a rain forest zone, so the wet and damp wood should be no surprise.
A picture looking back down the lake where we had paddled earlier that day.
The evening sunset was delicious.
We enjoyed our meals around the nice campfire. Not only did the food taste great, but later, we had some excellent hot cocoa and Baileys.
The next morning, the wind picked up and we took our time paddling to Ericsons' bay. Our intent was to take a very secluded trail through the thick rain forrest to the ocean beach. Unfortunately, this was the only bridge across the numerous bodies of water we had to cross. Our feet were soaked. At one point, Johann's shoe got sucked up by the swampy mud and when he stepped forward it stayed put, leaving him with a very wet sock. 
There are many downed trees.
The trail is very overgrown in places and is in dire need of some serious maintenance.
As we got closer to the beach, we began to see artifacts like this. Not sure if it came from a mill or a ship.
Coming from the ocean, one can see this sign. The trail does dead end at Lake Ozette. One can go no further... unless they have a boat.
As far as hikes go, this was a tough one. Only 2 miles in length, but it was slippery full of water, mud, downed trees and we had to side step many swamps. I believe all of us fell at least once on the trail.
Once at the beach, Johann found the remains of a shipwreck.
We had to cross a river on the beach.
Conveniently, an old growth snag spanned the river.
A breif nap on teh beach in teh warm sun was very relaxing to say the least. We had to boogie back to the boats, back throught rain forrest trail and setup camp.

We setup camp and got the fire started and had salmon cooked over a campfire on a cedar plank. We complimented the meal with potatoes and green beans. Steve provided his own secret seasoning on the salmon as it was cooking... to say that is was delicious is an understatement.

We finished the evening with more cocoa and Baileys discussing tall tales of previous adventure trips.

This was a fantastic Easter Weekend. The weather and the solitude made for a special time for all.

Untill next time... 

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