Hike to the northwesternmost point in the continental United States. Here, where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific, Cape Flattery protrudes into a sea of tumultuous waters. A land of dramatic headlands, sea stacks, and deep narrow coves, Cape Flattery exhibits sheer rugged beauty. Scores of seabirds ride the surf and scavenge the sea stacks. Watch for whales and sea lions too. And the sunsets... they're simply divine. Thanks to the Makah Indian Nation, the stewards of this land, a well-constructed trail leads to this remote corner of the Northwest. Start through a mist-drenched forest of Sitka spruce. Utilizing boardwalks and steps, drop to a series of promontories that provide stunning vistas of rugged Cape Flattery. At 0.75 mile reach the final viewing platform teetering on the edge of terra firma. Admire the cape's abrupt contours of sea stacks, caves, and forbidding sheer cliffs. A hostile environment of strong currents, swift breezes, and frequent storms-all forces responsible for creating this stunning landscape. But nature has a way of adapting to such brutal conditions. Look carefully at this intimidating world where sea meets land and you'll see life. Lots of life! Puffins and guillemots surf the turbulent waters. Murres nest in the fortresslike cliffs. Oystercatchers probe the tidal pools left behind on offshore reefs. Sea otters, once on the brink of extinction, bob in the protected coves. Whales can often be spotted farther out. People, too, have adapted to this landscape, which is often draped in fog and receives over 100 inches of annual rainfall. Directly offshore is Tatoosh Island. Named for a Makah chief, this 20-acre treeless island once served as a summer fishing camp for the Makahs. The U.S. Coast Guard first constructed a lighthouse on the island in 1857. The current structure is automated. Now only sea lions, seals, and scads of seabirds live on Tatoosh. The Makahs have declared Cape Flattery a nature sanctuary-an enlightened move for this wild world sitting on the brink of the continent.
The name La Push is from French La Bouche, meaning "The Mouth" of the Quillayute River, adapted into VChinook Jargon. Two well-known beaches are nearby: Rialto Beach to the north of the river mouth and La Push Beach to the south.
La Push, 14 miles from Forks, is home to the Quileute Tribe. Tribal members traditionally built cedar canoes for a variety of uses; they ranged in size from two-man to ocean-going freight vessels capable of carrying three tons. The Quileute ranked second only to the Makah as whalers, and first among all the tribes as seal hunters. They bred special woolly-haired dogs, and spun and wove their hair into prized warm blankets. According to the stories, the Quileutes only kin, the Chimakum, were separated from them by a great flood that swept them to the Quimper Peninsula on the other side of the North Olympic Peninsula. There they were attacked and destroyed in the 1860s by Chief Seattle and the Suquamish Tribe.
First treaty with European Americans occurred in 1855, when the Quileutes signed a treaty with representatives of Territorial Governor Isaac Stevens. A treaty a year later would have moved them to a reservation in Taholah, but the Quileute territory was so remote that it was not enforced. In February 1889, an executive order by President Grover Cleveland established a one-mile square reservation at La Push. At the time the town had 252 inhabitants. While villagers were picking hops in Puyallup, the town was destroyed by arson in 1889
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