It is the little island that is hanging on the side of Washington State.
What do you guys do after realizing that you just finished the last exam of the quarter? Well, I travel. 11PM on Friday night, my friend texted me asking about the Saturday plan. Simple answer from me, “Nothing.. but I want to explore new places”. I walked to his apartment, which is like 20 steps away from where I lived, and discussed about the activity for tomorrow. We pulled out the map only to find out about this interesting hanging island in Washington State. Since I am really flexible about places to go, and so does he, we just called the day off and planned to leave at 6AM in the morning.
This hanging island is covered by Washington State Route 103 (SR 103) serving the Long Beach Peninsula. This route is approximately 20 mile long and the only way to access it is via US101. From the north junction of US101, SR103 allows the driver to pass through the city of Long Beach and the city of Ocean Park.
Here is my journey along the Washington State Route 103
The journey from Seattle to this little land is almost 4 hours one way covering the distance of ~200 miles. Since it was an unplanned trip, we just went with the mindset of going through SR103 and stopped if we came across something interesting.
First Leg: Seattle – Olympia – Long Beach
It was 6AM and three of us were ready to roll. As there is no other way to access that land aside from the junction via US101, we decided to drive down to Olympia, the capital of Washington State. The journey to Olympia via Interstate – 5 took roughly 1 hour for us as we left early and there was no traffic. We did not make any stop and continued the trip to Long Beach. From Olympia, we drove for another 2 hours before reaching the city of Long Beach (Yes, Long Beach is not only in California). The trip seemed to happen really quick as I was sleeping throughout this leg (Sorry buddies…). Long Beach is actually a very interesting city. This city claims to have the titled of “The World’s Longest Beach”. We did not browse the city much, instead we went to the Long Beach Trail and started our walk. Of course, after a three hours trip without stopping, this is the first thing that we were looking for.
Look, this is one of the fanciest/cleanest restroom I have ever seen. But seriously, not only the restroom, this place is so clean. We walked towards the direction of the beach and unbelievable. This place is so pretty. The sand is so white and soft.
Here, people were doing various activity: playing with kids, building sand castle, playing kites, etc. One interesting thing when I was here is they were having a friendly competition with whatever sports they called it. It is like six or seven kites chain together into one. I asked one of the guys and he answered “It is for the preparation of Kite Fest”.
Not long after that, I do not know why or how, a tractor actually passed across the beach side leaving the trail marks. Oh well….
Before we left, I walked closer to the water and managed to take one last shot.
As we walked out from from the beach, there was this boardwalk and bike trail.
We walked through the trail only to find out the skeleton of the Gray Whale.
Seems like the skeleton has been here for a long time tracing back all the way when Lewis & Clark did their expedition.
We walked back to our car and drove to our next destination.
Second Leg: Long Beach – Leadbetter Point
What is so special about Leadbetter Point State Park that we decided to drive there? It is actually the most northern part of SR103 that is drive-able. Leadbetter Point State Park is about 30 minutes away from Long Beach and it is located in the city of Ocean Park. We arrived here around 2PM and I am sure this is the home of a million mosquitos. It felt like I had a collision with mosquitos whichever direction I walked.
We walked a little deeper of the hiking trail and I think this is a wildlife refugee kinda place. Not sure what to do except taking the picture of the swamp that I saw. Maybe there were more attraction here but we decided to leave.
Third Leg: Leadbetter Point – Cape Disappointment
Well, probably like most of you now. I was thinking about what more disappointment I could get after the swamp, but surprisingly this place is so beautiful. The journey from LeadBetter Point to Cape Disappointment State Park is about 40 minutes driving. This drive actually covers the entire SR103. We hopped down the car to find this sign for the Cape Disappointment Trail.
The journey to the light house from the parking lot is about 1.5 miles. The walk is quite steep but all the paths are every clear. Halfway throughout the hike, we found this river mouth. Here I learned that the name Cape Disappointment is actually given by Captain John Meares who tried to sail the Columbia river but failed to do so because of the mud bar blocking the river mouth. But truly, the view is not disappointing at all.
Further down the path, there is this abandoned bunker that was used during the World War II. It is kind of interesting that the inside of the bunker is really clean.
And soon enough, we were reaching the end of the trail which is the Lighthouse. What is so interesting about this lighthouse is the fact that this is the oldest lighthouse that is still functioning in the West Coast. It was completed in 1856 with a height of 53 feet. When we arrived, there were a few people chilling. Well, it was a perfect weather anyway.
We reached the end of the trail and it was the time to go back. We went through the same path, so nothing really new.
Before we left this place, I managed to take a shot of this stuff hanging on the tree. Throughout our journey, we found quite a lot and I am really not sure what this is.
We reached back to the trail head, hopped into the car, and drove back to Seattle non-stop for the next 4 hours. Well, to make it fair, I was the one who drove for this leg.
That concludes my journey along Washington State Route 103 passing through the Long Beach Peninsula. If you asked me whether the trip is worth it, I would say yes. Pretty sure there are much more places to be visited but oh well, it was an unplanned trip. It was a nice weekend with buddies after all. Stay cheerful, stay happy, and always have fun in whatever you do!