Forum Index > Trail Talk > Shipwreck Coast - Navigating Tides and Overland Crossings
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babylero
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PostWed Dec 16, 2020 10:13 am 
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I am planning a two thru hike of the Shipwreck Coast (Rialto to Ozette) in early January. I have arranged for a car shuttle.

Aside from possible storms cancelling the trip I am concerned about balancing tides with daylight along several sections of the coast. Primarily Cape Johnson on day 1 and the section of the coast between the Norwegian Memorial and Yellow Banks.

The High Tide on my projected Day 1 is 8:30 AM, so I figure If I started at 10, I would be getting to Johnson at a medium tide that is headed out. Is this realistic or is this truly passable only at a low tide? Looking at Topo maps, it would seem there is a saddle that could be traveled cross country and bushwhacked but I have never been there so it could be foolhardy.

After Cape Johnson I know there are few more dangerous at high tide areas with some overland options, but tide will keep dropping as I approach my anticipated camp site at Cedar Creek/Norwegian Memorial.

Day 2 seems more dangerous. I've read that the section immediately north of the Norwegian memorial should not be attempted except for at low tide, the problem is high tide is at 9:30AM that day. Would it be feasible to start this section around 11AM after the tide has started going out, or is this too foolhardy?

My Plan B if this section is not realistic is to do an out and back to Rialto, as the tide will keep dropping and be a true low tide as I approach the hazard sections near Cape Johnson.

Thank you.
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Dec 16, 2020 11:11 am 
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I have done that trip including an epic January trip that included a snow bivouac in a slide area by a point just South of Cape Johnson. In winter storm surge can be more of a problem than tides. The Custom Correct figures are correct for summer weather but tides can differ from tables and sneaker waves are always a danger. Cape Johnson is not the problem it is the small points just north and south of it which are mud slides when wet and difficult to and frustrating to climb. We did it but sank in mud over our knees. The Cape it smelt is rocky and the rocks are very slippery when wet which is about all winter. The area around yellow banks is not to bad and there is an overland bypass at half tide. In winter the beach is often covered by waste deep sea foam and kelp making for slow progress. Looking down on a bay full of large logs swirling around and crashing into the woods was a sobering sight.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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babylero
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PostWed Dec 16, 2020 11:17 am 
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Doing some back of the math calculations it may make more sense to start at Ozette and head south. I would be approaching the area north of the Norwegian memorial at a low tide (3 feet down -0.9 in the late afternoon. And then the next day again I would be approaching Cape Johnson and Hole in the wall at low tide in the late afternoon.

I have microspikes and have used them to cross wet logs before, would they be of use on slick/kelpy rocks or would I be destroying them?
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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Dec 16, 2020 12:01 pm 
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I would not use microspikes on the rocks as they are slippery er than shoes in my experience they turn into skates.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Damian
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PostWed Dec 16, 2020 8:31 pm 
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Your route will require particular attention to tides, but will otherwise be fine if you heed the afore advice about mud, slides, endless boulder fields, killer logs, and rogue waves.

Micro spikes would be a problem on rocks.  IMO Best bet for long ocean hauls across logs, creeks, and slimy rocks are ceramic calks.  Makes a cake walk of the worst beach conditions.  Slippery logs and rocks can be downright dangerous, especially after a long day. Ceramic spikes hold very well on rock.

I prefer 10" high boots with rubber soles for winter ocean hikes to handle creeks, rogue waves, mud, and endless kelp and foam slop.  I have used Hoffman boots for many years and hike the ocean regularly each winter.
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Hoosierdaddy
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PostThu Dec 17, 2020 7:45 am 
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I did this in southbound 2018, beginning at Shi Shi. Because my timing was poor, I actually went up and over the saddle at Cape Johnson. It was tough! No trail and quite steep at first. It didn't appear that anyone had ever been up that way in ages. There were lots of blowdowns that you just bumped into because they were completely hidden by VERY thick, head high ferns. It only took about an hour to go up and over, but I had to earn every single step!  The portion between Yellow Banks and Norwegian Memorial is no joke and is best done at low tide, but the going is SLOW and tedious because most of the rocks are huge and quite slippery. Micro spikes would not work well.

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babylero
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PostThu Dec 17, 2020 11:01 am 
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I've decided I'm going to start from the north. That way I will be at the tricky section north of Norwegian at low tide and again at Cape Johnson at low tide. I was going to go from Ozette to Sandpoint via the boardwalk but going due west to Wedding Rocks first which adds about 3 miles to the day seems worth while, should that area not be missed?

I'll leave the spikes behind and wear my boots with gaiters.
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Kellbell
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PostWed Dec 23, 2020 11:39 am 
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I'm planning the exact trip in January! I'll be watching here for your trip report. I hope we both get good weather!
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babylero
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PostFri Dec 25, 2020 8:57 am 
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Kellbell wrote:
I'm planning the exact trip in January! I'll be watching here for your trip report. I hope we both get good weather!


When are you going?
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Sallie4jo
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PostFri Dec 25, 2020 9:41 am 
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Hi all..
I was just out to Sand Point and Cape A over Solstice..a wild weather 3 days 4 sure.  The rain swelled the creeks signicantly and there were areas going to the cape where there could be slides anytime.   The tides were not high, high or low low, which was a grace.  I say that because on the 21st about 6 PM a calm wind turned into a gale force wind difficult to stand in..just as the tide was high.  That lasted all night..wind howling and I was glad the tides weren't the real high ones as not so sure they wouldn't have crept over the logs to my camp.   ...I knew there was going to be rain when I left on Sunday..wasnt aware of any major wind.  All 2 say, be prepared for high creek crossings, mud, and the unexpected..( including people who don't go prepared and do risky things..I have never seen so many idiots in the 30 + years i have been backpacking in winter out there. 
And..that 5 mile rock slog to Norwegian m.  is just that a slippery slog!  Enjoy.  PS the 1st day of winter was gorgeous out there..wow!

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                           Terry Tempest Williams
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babylero
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PostSun Dec 27, 2020 10:22 pm 
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What sort of idiots?
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NBL
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PostTue Dec 29, 2020 8:31 am 
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Jealous. It's so beautiful out there. I did Shi Shi to Ozette a couple years ago and would just echo that beach hiking is much more of a slog than it seems like it would be with all the side hilling, rocks and boulders of every size, and lots of wet slippery opportunities to fall. The rhythm of the tides and the inevitability of them coming back in twice a day adds intimidating urgency to any headland crossing in a caution area. I think the rope assists are great fun but others in my party found them scary at times.

Give yourself plenty of extra time in your itinerary for flexibility, bring extra food, and check with rangers to confirm which fresh water sources are currently available.

On my trip I saw deer, a coyote, and raccoons, but the only animals that stole my food were the crows.
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Snuffy
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PostTue Dec 29, 2020 3:31 pm 
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I think you are smart to go north to south if it means hitting those spots at low tide, we did a quick overnighter from Rialto to Chilean at Thanksgiving and ended up stuck. Low tide was around 4am and 4pm (a sucky schedule) and we left Rialto at 6am in the dark hoping to make it around a few points before high tide at 10am but it was slow going and we got stuck at a point with no possible trail overland. Learning for our way back, we did the hike mostly in the dark which turned out cool with the full moon and racoons but not ideal.

I wasn't clear about your question regarding Ozette and Wedding Rocks but we did Cape Alava to Sandpoint in September and it was worth it. It will probably be the easiest part of your trip!

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Brucester
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 11:30 am 
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This reminds me of a video on YouTube hiking Canada's WCT: West Coast Trail - Winter Hike

WCT is different yet gives an idea....

Down here...I remember "trying" to cross the wintery Ozette naked in almost chest deep water with a seal swimming around me...I remember saying "hey that junk isn't a fish ok." Lol

That was a test, we turned around... The seal wasn't impressed either...

Be careful out there!
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babylero
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PostSun Jan 03, 2021 1:34 am 
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No plans to ford the Ozette. Also very glad my trip is for next weekend and not this weekend. I hope no one went out there with the storm/waves the coast is getting today.
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Forum Index > Trail Talk > Shipwreck Coast - Navigating Tides and Overland Crossings
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