A few weeks ago I went on my first "backpacking" trip to the Olympic Coast. I'm putting backpacking in quotations, as I did carry my gear in a backpack, but the trek was literally a walk on the beach.
Up until this point, I had only ever slept in a tent in someone's yard with everyday amenities - bathroom, running water, cell phone service - just a couple steps away. I was nervous about being completely unprepared for the single night trip. I should probably bring three shirts instead of two. This is a beach - I'll bring a bathing suit. What if I'm not in the mood for these snacks? One bottle of vodka should be enough, right? Two bottles of water should definitely be enough.
We consolidated our camping crew at the Hurricane Ridge Ranger station. We received Beach Camping 101 from a ranger, made our plans according to tide schedules and proximity to fresh water, then continued on to the coast.
After a group photo shoot, a glimpse of a majestic AF bald eagle, and an approximately two-mile walk on Rialto Beach, we set up camp on a secluded beach with amazing views. We spent the afternoon playing beach bocce ball, lounging in hammocks, and chatting with other groups that walked by.
By high tide, we were completely separated from the rest of the world. The beach trail was blocked on both sides of our camp, so we settled in for the evening. We had brats, sweet potatoes, and s'mores roasted over a campfire before turning in for the night.
At one point after dark, the boys went on a search for the stream we carefully planned around. Considering the warm and dry Pacific Northwest Summer, the stream was nowhere to be found. Two bottles of water were definitely not enough.
The next morning, I woke up with a dry mouth and rationed the remainder of my giant water bottle. After a couple friends made their way into the ocean, I determined it was time to but my cactus print bathing suit to use. I only lasted a few minutes in the ~50⁰ water, but it was a welcomed shock to my system.
The girls on the trip spent the another hour exploring the surrounding beach, where we saw some awesome aquatic life. That starfish was that purple in real life! It was a great final find before packing up to head back across the Peninsula and Sound to Seattle.
I would consider my first "backpacking" a great success! I may have been thirsty and gotten a leg farmer's tan (thank you, capri length leggings!), but I couldn't have had a better escape from the city with a pretty sweet group of friends I've made in my first year in Seattle.