Sunday, August 24, 2014

Makah Indian Reservation, Washington State

This post is by my husband, Dwight, who recently spent a few days on the Makah Indian Reservation in the Northwest most tip of the contiguous United States, along with his two daughters, Leigh and Katie. All are in the selfie below:

The three of us went on this trip to spend time together and to experience the spectacular Northwestern coastal scenery, the Makah people in Neah Bay, and their amazing Makah Museum.  The museum houses over 55,000 artifacts excavated from Ozette, a whaling village of six longhouses that was covered by a landslide over 500 years ago.  While only a small fraction of these artifacts are on display, they show what pre white man Makah life was like over the cycle of the seasons.  They had sophisticated technology for netting salmon, whaling at sea, making art, boxes, boats, and homes out of cedar, and weaving clothing from the long hair of their dogs!  The museum entrance tells you their lives were centered in fishing:

The deep sea going whaling vessels they hollowed from cedar trees are stunningly beautiful:

In the museum you walk through a reconstructed longhouse built with boards split from cedar and see how the ancient people made many of the objects used in their daily life.  An intimate experience that made you want to go out on the beaches where they lived.  

So we walked out to the tip of Cape Flattery, the most northwestern point in the contiguous United States, through the incredibly dense rain forest that is nurtured by over 150 inches of rain each year.  Here there is no beach, but caves in the cliffs

and sea stacks off shore.

There were many birds, a bald eagle, an osprey, and lots of oystercatchers.

There were puffins too, but too far away for our binoculars.

The next day we hiked out to Shi Shi Beach, a more typical home for the ancient Makah with typically variable weather and wonderful fog effects.  To get to the beach you climb down a very steep 150 foot cliff assisted by ropes.

Whoo, we made it!  Though the beach is 2 1/2 miles long we could only see part of it due to the fog.  But where we came down to the beach was worth the trip:

The Bullman Beach Inn where we stayed along the Strait of Juan de Fuca overlooking the mountains of British Columbia had a wonderful beach as well and much more sunshine which we enjoyed on our final day in Neah Bay.  And a great sunset!

Traditional wood carving lives on in the Makah Nation and takes nontraditional forms as well:

Another opportunity to 


  1. An email received: "That was a great blog, Dwight. You re looking good.....I trust your health has returned.

  2. Beautiful pictures ! It sounds like a wonderful trip . Thank you .BobbinLoeb

  3. Another email, this one from my dear friend Shannon: "Cathie-Always love reading about yours and Dwight's connection and love for this land that needs to be cherished. You always remind me to do more and in a mindful manner. Love-Shannon"

  4. Another email received: "Hi Cathie,
    Tell Dwight that I enjoyed his beautiful pictures and it was also fun to see the pictures of my cousins!
    I hope you are having a wonderful summer. It is going fast!

  5. Email from Leigh: "Hey, I made the blog!! :)
    Thanks for sending this, it was a great trip, I has so pleased that the three of us could spend that time together. Plus I'd always wanted to go to that corner of WA. I wasn't too pleased about all the fog, but Dad liked it and the photos are gorgeous! Love you and miss you, Leigh

  6. Email comment: "AWESOME!!! Such dramatic and beautiful scenery and great family pics . Also great selfie shot Dwight!! Jason & I really enjoyed your incredible trip updates ...fascinating history (So SACRED all around)!!
    Thank you sooooo much for sharing!! Much hugs Dwight & family!! Jason & Vickie :))"

  7. Finally getting to read this (it's me, Katie). Great photos Dad! I had fun with you and Leigh and each of us had our different perspectives and experiences that stood out to us. I will have to write a post about my beloved banana slugs!! Much love, Katie

  8. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Looks like a lovely time on many levels.