The Ozette Beach Triangle hike has many rewards, including craggy haystacks and a wild shoreline teeming with seals, eagles, herons and cormorants.
But the rugged coastline in Washington’s Olympic National Park also offers hikers a chance to see ancient artifacts left by the people who built seaside settlements and fished for salmon and hunted whales centuries ago.
Beach hikers can find some of the surviving Makah petroglyphs etched in a cluster of boulders called the Wedding Rocks along the 3-mile Pacific Coast trek between Cape Alava and Sand Point. Low tide is best, when it is easy to search the exposed outcropping for the sacred images of wildlife, fishermen, or oval moon-like faces preserved in the stones.
The artifacts, which predate the European explores and settlers, are believed have marked village boundaries. I ran my fingers along the smooth, shallow grooves that outlined an image of an orca and wondered if the creator also had been in awe of such a mighty ocean.