I know what your thinking. Graveyard spit? What the hell? Is she spitting on graves now? How incredibly rude.
Actually, no. Today we’re talking about spit as in the land formation. Per dictionary.com: a narrow point of land projecting into the water. Simple enough.
The main spit is actually Dungeness Spit. Graveyard is the fork that shoots off to the right before the lighthouse at the end (yes, the white spec in the distance is a lighthouse). I didn’t use Dungeness Spit in the title, however, because Graveyard Spit sounded more interesting and ominous. To be honest though, I didn’t set foot on Graveyard Spit or make it anywhere near the lighthouse
because I rolled my ankle the friday before this hike (dancing swing, which is apparently quite dangerous) and walking on the sand was a challenge.
Now for some facts and history on this gorgeous spit (that just sounds wrong).
Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the United States. Extending 5 miles into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, Dungeness Spit has grown about 15 feet per year for the past 120 years. (Information from the Washington Department of Ecology site.)
Since 1915, this area has been part of a 756 acre wildlife refuge visited by over 250 species of birds.
Graveyard spit also has a bit of history that explains its name.
Just before dawn on September 21, 1868, a band of 26 S’Klallam Indians conducted a raid on a party of 18 Tsimshian Indians camped on New Dungeness Spit waiting for daylight and good weather before making the 22-mile journey north, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island. During the attack, 17 Tsimshians were killed and one, a pregnant woman, was wounded and left for dead. The injured woman managed to make it to the lighthouse, where the Blakes gave her refuge. Later, Henry Blake took the woman to the home of Benjamin Rainey, whose wife was from the Tsimshian tribe.
The Tsimshian murder victims were buried on a branch of the spit that became known as Graveyard Spit.
Visit HistoryLink.org to read more about it.
Despite the deaths here, it’s clearly a happy place.
And these birds were quite happy, waiting for the dead seal at the edge of the beach to finish washing in.
This scene reminded me a little of the seagulls in Finding Nemo.
And just to prove that I actually did go here, this is me posing with some of the spectacular driftwood piled along the middle of the spit.
While we didn’t get far on this hike due to my injury, I’m hoping to come back with the kayaks and explore the area from the water soon. True to the great northwest, this area was breathtakingly beautiful and worth a trip, or maybe several.