Wilderness Through the Backdoor
So, there I was standing on a gorgeous remote Olympic Beach after trudging for over 10 miles on slippery rocks and soft sand-waiting out tides-gingerly skirting around rocky headland cliffs-and now I had a beautiful wilderness beach all to myself! Well, not exactly- Three people were camped on the beach and they were quite comfy-no scrapes, aching backs, nor tired legs after a hard day hike. And then suddenly a couple appeared on the beach fresh as the morning dew-no sweat-no signs of struggle -no problems getting to the beach that I toiled all day to get to. You see, there is a secret trail (actually not so secret thanks now to the Internet) that allowed these folks access to this wilderness beach by driving a maze of logging roads then following a bootleg path a mere mile (if that) to this special place. I felt robbed. Now, don't get me wrong-the folks I met that evening at the beach were nice folks-and some of them have gotten to the point that they can no longer backpack great distances-so getting to this beach would have been impossible for them the way I did it. But, still I felt that part of the allure and attraction of hiking the Olympic Coast is the wilderness aspect and that you needed to actually work to get to it. There are plenty of nice beaches in the Kalaloch section of the national park that are easily accessible to anyone. And while these folks I shared the beach with that evening were wonderful and the types of people you'd be glad to share a campsite and nature with-I know that judging by spent beer cans on the beach, that the types of folks you don't' want on a wilderness beach make their way here too-and surely they wouldn't if it involved actually hiking to this spot. Now, I have friends in Forks who cherish these secret trails and they take care of the land and this allows them a quick access to the natural beauty that they live so near. I would not want to deprive them of their simple getaways. But, then again the Olympic National Park is a wilderness coast that is one-of-a-kind and I know that all good things in life are worth working for. Can we have it both ways? What are your experiences here? Your thoughts?