This fall we had the wonderful experience of camping for the night down at Second Beach with some friends. We are close friends with one of the party, but were meeting everyone else for the first time. You never know what to expect in those situations, but we all got along beautifully, and we're so glad we joined them. After parking and hiking down, we got settled in just in time for one of the most magnificent sunsets we've ever seen. As you can see in the photos, the fog began rolling in and made for a more interesting sunset. We were glad for the beautiful sunset but were worried we'd have a cloudy night and thus no stars for star gazing, but after dark, the clouds rolled out and left a cloudless sky. Now, let's talk star gazing on this beach. We saw a more clear and star filled sky than we have seen before, including the Milky Way. Somewhere early in the morning, the clouds and rain finally took hold, and we woke to a rainy PNW morning, but we couldn't have asked for better weather the night before to sit around the fire. Here are a few tips if you're planning your own night on Second Beach.
1. There is a hike involved. It's a short hike, but steep on the way back up, so it does take a little bit of exertion. Make sure to bring everything you need down before it gets dark. There's nothing worse then trying to hike up at midnight, possibly in the rain and fog, with your flashlight because you left something in your vehicle.
2. There's no true grocery store, so come to the trail prepared. There is a general store right down the road, but it won't have everything you need, so make sure you bring what you need from town.
3. Remember this is the Pacific Northwest, and you never know what type of weather you are going to get. While we were there, we had sunshine, fog, and rain. When we went to sleep around 2:00 a.m. it was still clear, though cold, but we woke up to rain. The air on the beach is damp, and it can be difficult to get warm. A good sleeping bag is a must, and bring the right type of clothing. If it gets wet and damp, cotton doesn't help you warm up in your sleeping bag, so be smart so you'll be comfortable. Also, if you have back problems, remember that sand isn't comfortable to sleep on, so you might need a foam pad to help you out.
4. Don't forget about the tide on the beach! Pitch your tent closer to the logs to ensure the tide doesn't sweep you away! It's also a good idea to bring a hatchet for splitting firewood for your campfire just in case you don't bring enough with you.
5. Our friends who grew up in the Forks area talk about how Second Beach used to be such a tranquil spot. Now, there is a lot of tourism to the area, and the beach was relatively crowded the night we were there. Just a reminder, that this is home to group of people who truly love this area. Please remember to be respectful and clean up after yourself, so everyone can continue to enjoy a clean beach!