PORT ANGELES HARBOR
Come and sit awhile; hiking boots and backpack not required. The North Olympic Peninsula provides a banquet of spectacular sights and sounds that you can experience without ever leaving your car. The Port Angeles Harbor is one of these sites.
Just before dawn, grab a cup of coffee, your camera, binoculars and head for the harbor. Ediz Hook is a good spot. If you are early enough you may catch a glimpse of the moon peaking through the clouds as if to say “I’m still here.”
Look to the east. There is a good chance you will discover tiers of pink and purple as the sun competes with the clouds for dominance of the morning sky. If you look to the south the layers of Port Angeles will appear as specks of light as the city begins its day. Hang around awhile. As the sun continues to rise it will illuminate the Olympic Mountains. These impressive peaks and glaciers loom high above the city.
Glance across the bay and you may be treated to the site of the Coho Ferry leaving as it shuttles its passengers across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, B.C.; or be delighted by the colorful site of kayaks as they are paddled out from City Pier.
Just above the riprap that protects the city, snippets of the Olympic Discovery Trail shyly make their appearance and then disappear into a backdrop of lush green trees and bushes as the trail heads east.
Stop in one of the many parking areas along this sand spit and enjoy views of the working waterfront. You will be intrigued by log storage areas, entertained by the pilot-boat as it exits the bay to meet an incoming ship and awed at the site of large ships at anchor.
Allow the sea gulls and shore birds to amuse you as they forage for food along the shore and listen for seals and sea lions as they splash nearby. Watch for eagles as they soar overhead inspecting the waterfront for prey. Bring a lunch and you will undoubtedly have an opportunity to share it with these local inhabitants.
Riprap on the north shore protects the spit from storms and offers a playground for artistic visitors. You may find creative stacks of rocks piled high on the boulders that guard the area. Sun bleached driftwood is a common site after a storm. Exotic grasses and wild sweet peas share the soil with the occasional sea shell and bits of sea glass. And north across the water the silhouette of Vancouver Island provides a break between the water and the sky.
In the fall, as evening approaches, you might be rewarded by a spectacular sunset to the West and a magnificent Harvest moon to the East. These sights and sounds are available for all of the harbor visitors, even those that cannot hike a trail.
What you see depends on the time of year and prevailing weather conditions. This is not a promise but an invitation for you to explore the possibilities.