Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dungeness spit, Sequim, Olympic peninsula

Lighthouse at Dungeness spit, Olympic Peninsula
Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 100-400mm
Image details: 150mm, f/10, 1/250sec, ISO 400, Panorama

Dungeness spit is one of the most interesting geological formations on the Olympic peninsula. It is the longest natural sand spit in the United states.  The Dungeness national wildlife refuge is also a key staging area for a variety of species of birds.

I would recommend this hike in spring or summer. The round trip hike is about 10 miles. Try to start early in the day. The light is best at this time and it is not nearly as hot. It will be useful to carry along a windbreaker as it can get pretty windy and the spit has no shelter from the wind. Carry plenty of water - you will need it.

Dungeness spit,Olympic Peninsula

Equipment: Canon 20D, Canon 100-400mm

Image details: 170mm, f/18, 1/200sec, ISO 800

Along the entire length of the hike you will be treated to amazing views of the Olympic mountains. There are thousands of sea gulls perched on the driftwood on the beach. You can make some interesting compositions with the gulls and the Olympic mountains. Keep your eye open for bald eagles. You will find a number of them perched on the crab pots in the inner part of the spit.

There is also a colony of Caspian terms that nests on the spit. Make sure you don't walk too close to the colony. The rangers will not be too happy and the terns will start dive bombing you! In general the whole spit is a birders paradise - California gulls, Glaucous winged gulls, Oystercatchers, Guillemot and many more.

Once you get to about halfway you will start to see the "New Dungeness"  lighthouse. It is a beautiful lighthouse and on a clear day you will be able to see Mount Baker behind the lighthouse. The whole scene screams panorama!

The lighthouse grounds itself are beautifully maintained. I recommend you take a tour of the lighthouse and climb up to the light on the top. Also there is a good chance you will see a bunch of seals hanging around in the water around the lighthouse.

For more detailed information about the region consult the official website

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