I love a good adventure, and those of you who’ve followed my blog for some time know that I don’t do well staying at home and feeling confined. That said, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to evolved, we know that we need to do our part to mitigate risk, and much of that has to do with reigning in our travel radius. Much of JBLM has dictated a 50-mile travel radius to their troops, and while some still offer up a 250-mile radius, we’re doing our best to embrace the idea of “backyard tourism.” We define backyard tourism as exploring our direct surroundings, all while staying away from crowds, large public places and gatherings, and seeing what lies virtually in our own backyard. It’s a good way for us not only to see more of our immediate duty station, but also to avoid the proverbial cabin fever that might otherwise set in. So, this past weekend, we found ourselves exploring the Nisqually Beach shipwreck, a sight merely 10 minutes from JBLM North.
We’ve traversed Sequalitchew Creek Trail a number of times now, but this little sister trail starts about five minutes away, closer to DuPont proper, and is most accessible when parking in the nearby neighborhoods by the golf course. I’d read that there was a shortcut to the shipwreck and, at low tide, it’s the best way to get there and get there fast. Since we were with the littles, I made sure that it was kid-friendly, and off we went. There is a hand-drawn map posted on the fence showing you two paths. One goes directly down the hill, across the train tracks, and to the Nisqually Beach shipwreck. The other goes about a mile and a half further, looping around to the same beach. We chose the shorter route.
Now, let me tell you; we are not wimps. We love a good adventure, and our kids are veritable billy goats. The rope path down the hill, however? It’s not kid-friendly or, at the very least, it is not little kid friendly. However, we were invested, and once we were invested, we had no choice but to keep climbing (read: sliding) down. The rope is more like cheap bailing twine, and while it helps, it’s not the sturdiest. We weren’t wearing proper hiking attire either. Like I said though – we were in it. So, after 20 minutes of slipping, sliding, rolling, and scooting, we made it down to the train tracks, traversed them, then descended down a rocky little hill face onto the beach.
It was windy, but the sun was peeking through stormy clouds and dancing beautiful light as we made our way out across the sand and barnacles towards the shipwreck. The boys were fascinated by the driftwood. I was fascinated by the barnacle-encrusted ropes, the old pillars shorn off into mere stumps, and the uprooted trees that had clearly been there for a long time, smoothed by the salty water and tides over time.
The Nisqually Beach shipwreck was a sight to see in its own right. I don’t know too much about it, and I couldn’t find too much information, but here is the little bit that I do know. The concrete ship was abandoned over 60+ years ago. It is among four scuttled ships in the area, and it split into, nearly perfectly, allowing a gaping hole for more adventurous climbers to explore at low tide. We didn’t go in because the ship, itself, is covered in hard and calcified barnacles that could easily cut us and, like I said, we did not properly prepare for a hike. It was equally spectacular simply exploring around it, taking a peek inside, and watching the sea lions and seagulls dance and play in the shallow water nearby.
I think the best part of exploring the Nisqually Beach shipwreck though was simply the fact that we can still be backyard tourists while practicing safe social distancing. This adventure was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to finding some more obscure little places around us while we’re in the midst of COVID-19. If you’re local to area and hope to visit, here are few things you should know:
- Be sure to check the local DuPont tide chart; you’ll only be able to get to the shipwreck at low tide
- If you plan to take the rope path, wear proper hiking boots 😉
- If bringing young kiddos, the path we took is not stroller accessible; take the longer route
Tell me, are you going to be a backyard tourist, or are you staying at home for the duration?