Shi Shi Beach & Point of the Arches
Last Saturday (4/6/13) I hiked the Shi Shi Beach trail near Neah Bay on the Makah Indian Reservation. I have hiked this trail one time before about three years back. The beauty and undisturbed nature that I had seen drew me to hike this trail once again. My ultimate goal and still on my bucket list was to find a Japanese fishing glass float washed ashore.
This hike started off in the mossy woods with manmade wooden plank slabs and bridges to walk over. After the first half mile the trail became more natural and beat down by the numerous people who have hiked this trail before. After going around mud puddles and avoiding the slushy areas you eventually have to either trek it through the mud or go off trail to avoid the muddy path. I would advise one to wear water proof tall hiking boots for this hike because after the first half of the trail the mud becomes unavoidable.
Once you make it to the end of the trail on top of the cliffs you have to hike down to the beach. This part of the hike is dangerous and people have tied and left behind long ropes for others to hold onto while they decent down the hillside. Beautiful but dangerous this path zigzags back and forth the entire way down. The spring growth is booming all around the path and the color of the new green growth is refreshing to see.
Once you make it down the hillside you step out onto the beautiful sandy beach of Shi Shi. As you look to the right you see a large monolith surrounded my small rocks jetting out of the water. This large rock can be hiked over which leads you down to a sandy private cove. Washed ashore you will discover many fishing buoys in all shapes and colors along with shells and tumbled wood chips and rocks. When the tide is low you can explore the sea life in the small tide pools. Sea urchins, sea anemones, and starfish are just a few of the living echinoderms you will see.
Hiking to the left on Shi Shi beach for about two miles you will reach the Point of the Arches. From the vast distance you can see the monoliths, rocks and arches as you head in its direction. As you get closer the details on each of the rocks become clearer while you notice the growth and living animals resting on the rocks surfaces. Eagles and birds can be seen perched up top or flying back and forth between the rocks. When you reach Point of the Arches at low tide again you can check out the different tide pools for sea life or explore the caves drilled out of the bottom of the rock monoliths.
There is an immeasurable amount of treasures to explore while you are hiking on Shi Shi beach. You will find items that have washed ashore off of fishing boats, shipping containers, and possibly Japanese Tsunami debris. There is a small amount of sea glass to be found here but if you are a beach comber you can collect other items such as the tumbled smooth wooden chips, rocks, buoys, glass bottles, shells, and interesting tumbled debris.