Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Just south of the rocky cliffs of Cape Flattery are two wonderful sandy barrier beaches. Hobuck and Tsoo-Yess (Sooes) Beaches are both spits - the Hobuck at the mouth of the Waatch River and Tsoo-Yess at the mouth of the Sooes River (not surprisingly the maps I've seen alternate between native and anglicized place names).
The beaches are basically crescent shaped pocket beaches, contained within Makah bay, but both are further modified by additional rocky headlands and outcrops (Aerial, courtesy of Google), as well as the stream mouths.
On the 26th of January, 1700, when the Cascadia Subduction Zone last slipped, the resulting tsunami may have overtopped these low, flat beaches. Makah tribal accounts recall the devastating impacts of the wave in the Waatch River Valley (USGS link).
The northwestern tip of the continental United States is this rocky headland, looking out at the Tatoosh Island Lighthouse and across the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (and therefore to Puget Sound, the Georgia Basin, and the entire Salish Sea). That's Vancouver Island in the distance.
It's a long drive from Seattle, but not out of reach for a one day trip, which is how D and I ended up here last Saturday afternoon. The trail out to the overlook is easy and the weather was wonderful - although I suspect we were very lucky. There was a strong, cold north wind during the crossing from Edmonds in the morning, but the drive out along the Strait was calm and pleasant.