On the top of northwestern Washington lies a finger of sand. A natural occurring sand bar that juts out into the strait of Juan De Fuca for 5.5 miles. This strip of beach is one of the longest natural occurring sand fingers in the world and continues to grow at a rate of 13 ft per year. Out amongst the emptiness lies the New Dungeness lighthouse at 5.2 miles along the tip. There stands a a brick and plaster fortification that when erected in 1857 was 100 ft tall. Then in 1927 structural instability was found and the tower was reduced to 63 ft. The tower has remained open to the public since 1994 when a lighthouse association leased the rights of the building from the coast guard and now keep it staffed with a person 24/7/365. Want to staff it? You sure can. For a small sum of $375 a person you can sign up to run the lighthouse for a week.
Too much work you say... I hear you. Then join us on our perilous march down the finger. A 5.2 mile walk one way is the main method for the general public to catch a glimpse of this piece of history up close. We arrived at the main gate at a bright and early 10 am. The old salty gentleman manning the entrance gave us a quick talk and a stern warning. " Tide peaks at 1419 today and there is a small craft advisory due to the wind. If you see whitecaps..." I interrupted him, "We should get our ass out of there." He smiled and nodded in agreement. Unstable sand in the middle of the ocean during high tide and waves; check. Let's roll.
After a 2 1/2 hour walk through the sand and rocks we finally hit our target. It's 62° outside and there is a 10 knot breeze blowing across the bar. Our hands and faces are chilled and our clothes feel wet from the ocean humidity.
5 1/2 miles down, 5 1/2 to go. It's 1300 and we should be hitting the middle of the spit during high tide. Sweet. Seals abound and seagulls looming overhead complete the scene of a day in the pacific northwest.
The day of exploration over it's time for us to pay our dues to the casino. They've been gracious enough to give us 3 days of parking and a 30 amp hookup all inside a paved secured parking lot. We cleaned up and headed inside for pizza, a cold beer, and some live music. I did try the penny slots though. A single dollar bill was put in, and disappeared into a lighted frenzy of images and sounds for about 30 seconds. Wow. That was exciting.