Any time you drive down the Pacific side of the Olympic Peninsula, take the time to slow down with a visit to Beards Hollow State Park just outside of Long Beach. The Park is for exploration, contemplation, and getting in touch with your natural side. Here’s an example of what you’ll find.
When you enter the Beards Hollow State Park the impression is one of quiet, moist nature walks. There are plenty of those within the bounds of the Park. Still lily ponds entice the visitor to pause and reflect on their lives as well as the sky’s mirror. Delicate yellow blossoms peak up from the foliage to wave at the viewer. Birdsong echoes through moss-covered trees to remind you of the outside world.
Other visitors may whiz by you on their bikes. Don’t be alarmed. Wish them a Bon Voyage as they trek along the Discovery Trail, which winds its way through the Park from Long Beach to Cape Disappointment, and on to Ilwaco and the Coast Guard Station.
Allow yourself to take the slow road for a while as you stand on a wooden bridge to look across the intervening vegetation that occludes the sea. It was less than 150 years ago that the sea came all the way into the position of that bridge. Time and silt, breezes and seeds on the wind have filled in the former inlet.
Take a stroll down the paved path to the beach. Pause to admire the hidden lily ponds. Study the lushness of the hillsides, and know that if that lushness disappeared tomorrow, it would take little time for it to return with the prevailing climate of the rain-forested area.
Short cliff sides rise on the right. Native succulents cling to cracks so they can show off their colors. At the dunes driftwood stops you in your tracks. This one can give the visitor a vignette view of the sea simply by looking through its eye.
Fog rolls in, sometimes without warning. Early morning in August often finds misty beaches like Beards Hollow. The day’s temps are warm, but fog can linger to add of subtle chill to the dune side experience.
When you return to your car, think about exploring Cape Disappointment on the next prominence south of the Park. You won’t be disappointed. Between the lighthouse and the views, another chapter in your visitor’s book will be completed.
Try the links below to help decide when you’ll take a walk or ride on the Pacific’s edge.
Discovery Trail from Long Beach, WA, through Beards Hallow State Park, Cape Disappointment, and across to Ilwaco and the U.S. Coast Guard Station. Link: http://blog.oregonlive.com/terryrichard/2011/07/discovery_trail_on_washingtons.html
Beard’s Hollow State Park link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oglQ9mGtVoI
Discovery Trail: a different view. Link: http://funbeach.com/local-attractions/discovery-trail/