Gallery: misty weather on the Olympic Peninsula coast
As one of the rainiest places in the US, the Olympic Peninsula coast is notorious for bad weather. A national park leaflet explains:
Severe currents, rocks and infamous weather doomed many ships along this wild coast. Shipwrecked mariners told of hardships endured on the rugged and desolate shoreline, and of dramatic rescues, some involving heroic assistance from local tribes. Memorials north of Rialto Beach commemorate 36 people who died in wrecks of Chilean and Norwegian vessels in 1920 and 1903—testament to a perilous, remorseless sea that has taken many lives.
So we counted ourselves fortunate to experience slightly damp but by no means unpleasant conditions. At Rialto Beach the offshore sea stacks loomed mysteriously through the fog and a light sea fret hung in the air. The conditions rather suited the landscape and made for some interesting if challenging photography.
[For another view of Rialto Beach, see the image I posted for the Around the world in ten photos challenge]
Shadowy figures could be seen in the distance, walking the shoreline.
The sea and wind had scoured the bark from the fallen tree trunks that line the beach, leaving bizarre and sometimes haunting shapes, best photographed in black and white.
At the uninspiringly named First Beach (guess what the next two beaches along the coast are called? You got it – Second and Third Beaches!) we found yet more photographic inspiration in the misty conditions, and fewer people.
Although one small boy was enjoying himself, despite the weather!
The next day, after a morning exploring the surprisingly dry Hoh Rainforest, we travelled further down the coast to Ruby Beach. This beach lies some distance below the parking lot, reached by a fairly steep path and a scramble over large tree trunks. I decided to stop at the first viewpoint on the descent, while Chris continued to the beach alone. Even from there, it was a magnificent spot for photos, with the clouds a little higher than they had been at Rialto and First Beaches.
By the time we reached Beach Four (are you keeping count?!) there was a little blue in the sky, and we found more still at Kalaloch Beach.
But by this point the photogenic sea stacks we had found further north had petered out, so we didn’t linger long but turned inland away from the coast, happy with the photos we had taken in this atmospheric weather.
For this week’s Sunday Stills challenge Terri asks, what is our favourite weather? When travelling, I am happy with any weather in which I can get out and take photos. And if the weather enhances the shots, as the mist did here on the Olympic Peninsula, so much the better!
I visited the Olympic Peninsula in 2017
I live in SW Washington and I still haven’t made it to the Olympic peninsula or the rain forest, but it’s on my list to see
It’s always the way, isn’t it? We never visit all the wonderful places we have close to home!
The Olympic Peninsula is one of my favorite places! Since I live in Washington we visit a couple times a year and it never gets old. You captured its beauty and moodiness very well!
Thank you – I’m glad that as a local you approved of my take on this! I’m sure we would visit regularly if we lived near enough too – it’s just the sort of place we love, coastal but not ‘seasidey’ 😀
Definitely not ‘seasidey!’ A very remote coast indeed! And there’s plenty of blue sky and sunshine too during the summer months!
Ha, not when we visited 😆 These photos were taken in July!
I guess we reserve the sunshine for the locals! 😁
I recognise these seascapes 🙂 Cloudy and misty beaches make fabulous photos. Providing of course, you have enough light to actually focus on something 🙂
Thanks Sandy, and yes, that’s a good point. Thankfully it wasn’t so foggy that the focus didn’t work properly 🙂
Lovely atmospheric photos. It’s a wonderful stretch of coast. The first time I went to the Hoh rainforest it was 90° and bone dry. Normal service was resumed the following day!
Thank you – yes, we loved it here! We had very pleasant weather in the Hoh – mild, dry, and some sunshine towards the end of the morning 🙂
I love your beach photo’s – and it’s amazing how the ocean basically changed colours after each shot you took!
And your pictures of those ‘haunted’ tree trunks – lovely – but don’t show it to me in the dark, it really looks scary 😬.
Thank you – so glad you like the photos, although it hadn’t occurred to me that those trees looked haunted or scary!
Maybe I have just a very good imagination 😄.
We’ve only experienced this from on board ship, when we travelled from Vancouver Island to Seattle (on a glorious midsummer day). It remains probably the most beautiful boat journey of our lives, though your shots are much more reminiscent for me of the coastline we enjoyed on Vancouver Island. I loved those beaches, with their ancient fallen tree trunks, and their moody rocky vastness.
Oh, that must have been a wonderful boat trip! I bet you couldn’t stop taking photos?! These beaches reminded me of Vancouver Island too – in particular Long Beach near Tofino. The same huge tree trunk, although in our case it was Vancouver Island we saw in bright sunshine (well, that day at least, not all of them!)
You’re right. And guess what, I haven’t got a single one now. Grrr.
I liked your black and white photos of the trees, Sarah. It emphasizes their shape and texture. Also liked your last shot of Kalaloch. We saw sea otters at Ruby Beach once, an experience I’ll always remember. 😀
Thank you for that lovely comment about the tree photos 🙂 Seeing sea otters in the wild must have been amazing! I remember seeing them at Monterey Aquarium – they were gorgeous but that’s not quite the same as a wild sighting! Not sure who you are? But thanks for stopping by!
The fog certainly gives these beaches a mysterious air. Particularly love your shots of the gnarled trees and also the weathered, weed covered posts.
Thank you – those are just the sort of details that always appeal to me, especially in ‘poor’ weather 😉
Oh, the Places We See
These beach photos are marvelous. Love the hazy atmosphere and mystery behind each one.
Thank you – they do look a bit mysterious, don’t they?!
Terri Webster Schrandt
How cool to take a tour along the Olympic peninsula, Sarah! Practically my new backyard and easily attainable as a road trip in the future. Your photos of the beaches are exquisite and show the dramatic mist and beach textures so well! Never heard of sea stacks but had seen pics of them, second cool thing I learned today reading others’ blog posts. When did you take this trip? Hopefully you can get back to the US some day.
Hi Terri! We toured WA in July 2017, the most recent of a series of road trips we’ve enjoyed in the US 🙂 We did a loop from Seattle over to the peninsula by ferry, several days driving around there, then over to Mt Rainier, up via Lake Chelan to the Cascades, down to the coast at Anacortes and finishing with a few days in Friday Harbor before driving back to Seattle – three weeks in total 🙂
As for coming back to the US, I’m planning to be in Chicago with VT friends next September (i.e. 2022) and my husband may join me at the end of that visit so we can do another road trip – possibly even Rte 66!!
Terri Webster Schrandt
That’s awesome, Sarah! You must have 10s of thousands of travel images!
Well, if you count all the rejected shots and ‘just not quite good enough to share’ ones, yes definitely – maybe even 100s of 1000s 😁