Once again we’re staying on Indian lands; this time, the Quileute (or Quillayute) Reservation. Like the Makah of Ozette, the Quileute settled on the coast at the mouth of a river and found sustenance from the sea as fishermen and whalers.
According to Wikipedia:
The Quileute believed that each person had an individual guardian. They would pray to the guardian, along with the sun and Tsikáti (the universe). Much of their original religion was lost after the disruption of European encounter, diseases, losses and colonization. James Island, an island visible from First Beach, has played a role in all aspects of Quileute beliefs and culture. Originally called A-Ka-Lat (‘Top of the Rock’), it was used as a fortress to keep opposing tribes out and served as a burial ground for chiefs. As told much in their folklore, the Quileute descended from wolves. Quileute myths proclaim that the two-sided mythical character known as Dokibatt and K’wa’iti was responsible for creating the first human of the Quileute tribe by transforming a wolf.
In the photo of First Beach, below, James Island is to the left and Little James Island (from yesterday’s post) is on the right:
First Beach is ideal for beginning surfers due to its mostly sand beach and gradual slope. But that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of stones here, worn smooth from constant tumbling in the surf on their journey ashore.
As we saw on Vancouver Island, it’s common here for the surfing and beach crowd to build driftwood shelters between the dunes and high water. By the way, that’s our Jeep and Breeze motorhome behind and just to the right of the shelter in the photo, below:
I thought I’d peek inside this shelter…
… and was only moderately surprised to find a number of inscribed rocks and other totems left by prior visitors.
Sitting here listening to the howling wind and pounding surf, I couldn’t help but get a sense of the Quileute spirit world. I don’t know – but it could be – that the author, Stephenie Meyer, also visited here and had a similar sensation, inspiring her romance fantasy novel series about werewolves and vampires, The Twilight Saga, published 2005-2008 (selling over 100 million copies) and turned into popular movies in 2008-2012.
While I never read any of the books, I did see one or two of the movies (blame Dale). The story was based in nearby Forks, Washington, and one of the main characters, Jake Black, was a Quileute Indian and shape-shifting werewolf from LaPush.
We came to LaPush for two reasons, neither of which had anything to do with Twilight: to visit the beaches; and, as a base from which to explore the western side of Olympic National Park, specifically, the Hoh Rain Forest.
The drive from LaPush to the Hoh Visitor Center passes through Forks (pop. 3,832), the only significant town on the west side of Mount Olympus. Although none of the Twilight movies were filmed in Forks, the locals have capitalized on the series by hosting an annual “Forever Twilight Festival” (planned this year for September 12-15).
We won’t be going. We prefer being out in nature. So, hi-ho, hi-ho, it’s off to Hoh we go!