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MailTribune.com
  • Shi Shi: Hike to a pristine Washington beach

    Remote section of coast is not easy to get to — and that is a large part of the attraction
  • SHI SHI BEACH, Wash. — First there's a drive through windy seaside and tree-lined roads. Then there's a peek at the farthest northwest point in the lower 48 states. Finally, after a 2-mile hike along a wilderness trail with a descent down a 150-foot bluff, the reward is one of the most pristine spots on the coastline of Olympic National Park: Shi Shi Beach.
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    • If You Go
      SHI SHI BEACH: 8.5 miles south of Neah Bay, Wash., about 4.5 hours northwest of Seattle; www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/shi-shi-beach-olympic-wilderness.htm.
      GETTING THERE: Shi Shi beach is reac...
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      If You Go
      SHI SHI BEACH: 8.5 miles south of Neah Bay, Wash., about 4.5 hours northwest of Seattle; www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/shi-shi-beach-olympic-wilderness.htm.

      GETTING THERE: Shi Shi beach is reached via Highway 112, which snakes along Washington's northwest border on the Olympic Peninsula and the Strait of Juan De Fuca across from Canada. Visitors must drive through the Makah Indian Reservation to get to Shi Shi and overnight parking is only available at private lots on the reservation for about $10. Visitors must also purchase a pass from the tribe, $10 per vehicle, available at several locations in Neah Bay, including the reservation museum and minimart. A $5 per person National Parks pass must also be purchased, and for overnight stays, posted on tents.

      WASHINGTON TRAILS ASSOCIATION:

      http:bit.ly/15ekSpC

      BEAR CANISTERS: These portable, animal-resistant food storage containers can be borrowed from the park's Wilderness Information Center and some ranger stations, with a suggested $3 donation, or purchased at stores that sell camping supplies.
  • SHI SHI BEACH, Wash. — First there's a drive through windy seaside and tree-lined roads. Then there's a peek at the farthest northwest point in the lower 48 states. Finally, after a 2-mile hike along a wilderness trail with a descent down a 150-foot bluff, the reward is one of the most pristine spots on the coastline of Olympic National Park: Shi Shi Beach.
    Curved conifers stand behind the beach as a testament to wind power. Deer wander down the bluffs to nip at leaves. Eagles perch atop bare pine trees. Driftwood washed ashore by Pacific waves lines the sand banks. In all, the 2.3-mile beach located at the northern end is an unpolished gem, far less visited than other park beaches with easier access.
    "I like it because you see the expanse and you can be alone," said Tom Ammann, who's been hiking this coastal area for eight years, mostly in winter and fall. "I think that's one of the nicer places on the planet, actually."
    Farther along the beach, one of Shi Shi's most striking features is Point of Arches, a collection of rock formations known as sea stacks standing tall above the surf. Natural arches and caves decorate this part of the coast and provide exploring grounds for sea creatures once low tide comes in. Ambitious hikers can continue down the coastline, either on the beach or through the forest using marked trails.
    "We go out there in that solitude with open space," Ammann said. "You just sit there and you look — something that's kind of lost in this culture."
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