FKT: Minda Paul, Scarlett Graham, Angela Memory - Shi Shi Beach to Oil City Road (WA) - 2022-06-25

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Total time
18h 53m 43s

We completed the south bound route on Saturday June 25th, starting at 1:10am at Shi Shi beach TH, and finishing at 7:58pm at the Oil City Rd TH. We used Brad’s tide planning worksheet linked in Ryan and David's FKT report to determine starting times/cutoffs for beach pinchpoints. Weather was clear skies, and a hot, sunny day. The sea breeze felt awesome. The route includes hard packed sand beaches (the best!), slippery kelp covered rocks, and muddy rooty, brushy overland trails (very SLOW going, like 25-30 min miles).

The trail out to Shi Shi beach had some shoe sucking muddy spots, which we tried to skirt around, but looking back we should have just plowed right through and saved our effort, because we were in for a long day of wet, muddy and sandy feet. Once on the beach, we enjoyed a few miles of awesome starlit beach running, then the beach became progressively rockier and was slow going navigating in the dark. We passed by Point of the Arches in the dark at the 1 hour mark and it was still very dark, but were able to turn our headlamps off and see the faint outline of the massive sea stacks.

We waded the Ozette River at 3 hr,15 min. The beaches after the Ozette got progressively rockier and slower going for a while. One of the major pinchpoints for us was going to be Cape Johnson at mile 28. We wanted/needed to be there by 9:30am to make the recommended 4 ft tide. However, at 8:30am, we still had 5 miles to go and the rocky beaches were taking us 18-20 minutes per mile. We were feeling the stress of not making this first cutoff. Then starting north of the Cedar Creek area, the beach changed back to hardpacked sand. And we were able to run the whole way there and make Cape Johnson just in time. Woo! 

The next major milestone was the Quillayute River at mile 33, which we encountered a high tide with little current (11 hours to this point). We chose to swim across rather than take the road/bridges. There were 3 channels to cross. The first was the biggest. We put our stuff inside of trash compactor bags that we filled with air so they floated. Then we swam across with pool noodles that we carried with us (surprisingly only one person on the trail asked us about them all day). The water was cold and at first took our breath away. The second channel could be mostly wadable and required very little swimming. The swim was a bit scary for us, but overall it was exhilarating and refreshing. And we were soon warmed up in the amazing sunshine and road running to third beach.

The last 20 miles of the route have a lot more overland trails than the first 30 miles. The trail to 3rd beach is awesome, but after that they are all very technical with steep slippery parts, downed trees, roots, broken ladders, handlines, etc. The Hoh head overland trail from Mosquito creek to Jefferson cove was the lowest part of the trip for us. It's over 3 miles of overlanding with an abundance of obstacles and muddy trails. 

Our final pinch point was Diamond Head (2 miles from the end!). We needed be there at 6:30pm to the hit the 4ft recommend tides. We were still mucking around on the Hoh head trail at 6:30pm though and didn't make it to Diamond head until after 7pm. We decided to try to make it around the point anyways. If we didn't make this pinchpoint, we would have to wait until 12pm or midnight for the tide to go back down...woulda been a major bummer The tide was coming in with tides encroaching on the rocks but we were able to fairly easily scramble high on the very grippy rocks. This part few very intense at times, but very fun too. We were glad we had light packs and also all enjoy rock scrambling/climbing. We were greeted by Minda's partner Andrew at the end who shuttled the car around for us, and had been tracking us on the in-reach during the day.

Saw lots of wildlife (dead and alive, 3 dead whales!). Splitter of a day.