Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cape Flattery, Tatoosh Island, Fuca Pillar and the Makah Indians on the Olympic Peninsula

You are looking at a picture of me, back when I was young and skinny, with a full head of hair, leaning against a tree that is leaning towards the Pacific Ocean, far below, at Cape Flattery, way out in the northwesternmost point of the Lower 48 of the United States.

Cape Flattery is located on the Olympic Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

Cape Flattery is on the Makah Indian Reservation. The Makah are famous whale hunters. Besides hunting whales the Makah have built a nice boardwalk trail that will take you to the northwesternmost point in the United States.

It is an easy trail to hike, but the view at the end is not for the acrophobic. It is a long fall down to the crashing waves. A simple wood railing fence provides some sense of security. The waves crashing below, at times, have been among the biggest waves ever seen.

From Cape Flattery, offshore about half a mile you will see Tatoosh Island. The Makah used to use Tatoosh Island as a base camp during fishing season. The island is named after a Makah chief named Tatoosh.

In 1854 Cape Flattery Lighthouse was built on Tatoosh Island. The Cape Flattery Lighthouse first lit up in 1857. In 1872 a loud steam-powered fog horn was added to the lighthouse.

On the west side of Cape Flattery there is tall rock pillar, named Fuca Pillar. Named after Juan de Fuca.

My oldest cousin, Scott's his name, last year took a road trip. He wanted to go from the northwesternmost point of the lower 48 to the most southern point of the lower 48.

So, to start his trip he drove from Woodinville out to Cape Flattery, and then made his way across America til he got to Key West, Florida.

Below, you are on a boat looking at the Cape Flattery Lighthouse on Tatoosh Island.


Steve A said...

And here I thought "Tatoosh" was a housing development in Mukilteo.

Durango Northwest said...

Steve A, I'm guessing it is possible Chief Tatoosh had a housing development among his many endeavors. But, I'm thinking the Makah did not make it as far as Mukilteo, running into rival tribes would seem to have made that development difficult. The Tulalip, among others, would have been cranky.