Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Wildlife of Ozette Lake

A surprise was waiting for me at Ozette Lake campground.  Minutes after pulling in and securing a spot, I nearly collided with a young buck.

My new friend

It happened at the campground message board, while I was paying for our site.  I'd just finished, absent-mindedly turned around, and found myself face-to-face with the young deer.  The buck, not fazed in the least, nonchalantly sauntered over to a nearby bush.  I, on the other hand, dashed back to the truck to fetch my camera.

"Are you still following me?"

Hustling back to find the buck, I passed a Park service maintenance worker.  As I excitedly told him of my encounter, he shrugged and replied, "Oh yeah....there's deer all over here.  These guys are so used to humans, they're as tame as dogs."

Rubbing his antlers on a tree branch

The guy was right.  I soon caught up to my four-legged friend, rubbing his spiky head on a tree branch.  He didn't seem to mind me or my camera in the least.  I was able to get the best up-close wildlife photos ever.  After following him around for a good 20 minutes, the deer finally tired of this wacky paparazzi lady, and ducked into the forest.

Ozette River

Later that afternoon, after completing the Ozette Triangle hike, Roger and I relaxed at our campsite, drinking a well- earned beer.  Only a few of the campground's sites were occupied, and we were enjoying having the place nearly all to ourselves.  The peace and quiet was wonderful.

Lovely Ozette Lake in the evening

As the sun sank lower, I took a short walk along the shore, capturing images of this lovely lake.  Ozette Lake is huge, and I couldn't believe there were no boats in it's waters.  (The fact that is was late September might of had something to do with that).

I passed by a clearing on a small peninsula.  Designated a picnic area, it was a great place to spread out a feast.  The view couldn't be beat!

Sunrise on the lake (photo by Roger)

Back at camp, Roger and I were cooking dinner, when we noticed the park ranger drive by.  It was about 5:30 in the evening, and we figured he was doing an early check on the campers.  Little did we know that was the last time we'd see a ranger all evening.

Roger captured this cool pic of sunrise on a spider web

A half hour later, our serenity was broken by the sound of six vehicles roaring into the campground.  Each car was full of loud, obnoxious young adults.  They all parked next to the picnic area, and piled out.

To our disappointment, the group started carrying gear towards the beautiful picnic area (which was NOT a designated campsite).  We could hear them yelling and screaming as they commenced setting up tents.  Oh no....these jerks were here for the night.

Early morning mist on the lake

If there's one thing I absolutely hate, it's people who think campgrounds are for partying.  I go camping to enjoy the peace and quiet and commune with nature.  I think if folks want to party, they should just stay home.

Roger and I hoped the park rangers would return, but after a couple of hours, we realized that wasn't gonna happen.  These kids appeared to know what they were doing, and had probably timed their arrival to coincide with the ranger's departure.

It was a lovely morning

Near nightfall, Roger took a quick walk around the lake.  Upon his return, Roger reported that the group seemed to be breaking every rule in the campground.  He said the picnic area was trashed, and he counted at least 10 tents pitched in the small clearing, with others spilling out onto the path.  The group had constructed a huge bonfire right on the ground (no fire ring), had cases and cases of beer, and left lots of food just laying out.  One of the kids owned a large, red dog that ran loose through the campground.  Ugh!  Where was a ranger when you needed one?

Buck and doe wandering the campground

Ozette Campground didn't have cell reception, so there was no way to call the authorities.  The nearest town was a 25-minute drive on windy roads, which neither Roger nor I wanted to attempt in the dark.  And there was no way we were going to confront a group of drunk kids - we didn't know if they had weapons or if they would make trouble.  Roger and I realized we were stuck.  Luckily, both of us are sound sleepers, so after listening to the group's loud shouting for a short while, we both drifted off.

This guy had a nice rack

Despite the ruckus, Roger and I slept soundly, only interrupted once by something tripping over one of our tent guy lines in the middle of the night.  At first, Roger thought our intruder was an animal, but we later agreed that our "animal" was probably of the two-legged variety.  

More lovely lake scenes

We awoke the next morning to blissful silence, our rowdy neighbors all asleep (or passed out) in their tents.  Despite the past night's disturbance, the deer were back.  There were at least a half dozen of them moseying around the campground, chowing down on the bushes.  Delighted, Roger and I grabbed our cameras for more photo ops.  We had a great morning, capturing more images, even getting fairly close (but not too close) to a buck with a good sized rack.   The morning sun illuminated Ozette Lake's foggy surface for some great water shots.

Great reflections

After our photo session, Roger and I packed up camp in preparation for the long drive home.  Looking over at the tents of the still-slumbering partiers, I was sorely tempted to run by beating on a pan, and give those those hung-over a#*holes a rude awakening.  Upon our departure, as Roger pulled the truck by their site, I suggested he lay on the horn.  But Roger reminded me there were other folks in the campground, and we wouldn't be any better than those rude kids if we did that.  So in the end, we drove silently out of the campground, bidding Ozette Lake, and all it's wildlife (both two-legged and four), goodbye.

Pacific Ocean view near Clallam Bay

I got my final glimpse of the grand Pacific Ocean as we passed by the tiny town of Clallam Bay.  This fishing village hugs the Olympic Peninsula's northern fringe, and looks out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  The lovely blue sea was a grand finale to a wonderful vacation.  Despite the rain and rowdy campers, I'm already pumped for a return trip.

Missed any of my 2014 Olympic National Park posts?  You can access them at the following links:

Day One - Ocean Beaches
Rainstorm at Rialto
Day Two - Hikin' Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent Lodge
Day Three - The Ozette Triangle

Sharing with:  Camera Critters and Weekly Top Shot.


  1. Aw your little friend is adorable!!! How lucky to be so close to them all. I love love love that early morning mist over the lake photo. Gorgeous!

  2. Linda, don't you hate it when the hubbys are right? That lake looks so peaceful - but your story of the late night partying tells a different story. I love the spider web and the other early morning shots.

  3. Such a beautiful place. But your experience with noisy campers reminded me of something which happened to me and I can't resist sending you this link:

  4. What a beautiful place, in spite of the party animals.

  5. beautiful place for a campout albeit a noisy one.

    beautiful photos too.

  6. Love the deer and beautiful nature photography!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol
    A Creative Harbor

  7. What a beautiful encounter with that young deer! So cute. And the photos are great!

    The photo of the sunrise on the spider web is spectacular!

    The encounter with the loud and obnoxious young adults...not so nice. It bothers me more that they break all the rules while there.

  8. Awwwww.....your photos have made me smile, Linda. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. I really dislike obnoxious campers! But the lake is beautiful.

  10. What a shame to have the peace interrupted in such a beautiful place! I recall this happening to my family many years ago. There was a lot of yelling and in the morning we actually found a trail of blood near the restroom. It was scary because we had our baby with us.

  11. What a gorgeous place Linda and what amazing photos! The deer there sound just like those at Wallowa Lake who have no problem coming right up to you -- if you let them!
    Too bad your serenity had to be ruined by some very foolish and selfish partiers! It's incredible how some people don't realize that food left out can attract some wildlife that are not nearly as tame or nice as the deer were. I think I'd still report the incident just in case the rangers are not aware of what is happening after hours.
    PS: Did you survive the "wintry mix"? :)

  12. How sad to have the beauty disturbed by such anti social behaviour.

  13. Fantastic shots of the deer and water. Great capture of the web too!

  14. Despite your experience with those rowdies you came away with some superb photographs.

    I think a sharp knife or a pair of strong scissors might have been useful.

    It's the reason we gave up camping many years ago when idiots began to take up camping without having any regard for the etiquette and unspoken rules.

  15. This is an area we haven't spent much time in. It really sucks that it was overtaken by rowdy campers. I HATE that. But you did get some great photos of those cooperative deer. :)

  16. Hi Linda,
    these are fantastic pictures you get the same travel nerves and need holiday:-))
    greetings Frank

  17. Oh what great shots. The water and sky is so blue. Very pretty. The spider web is so cool. You must have a great camera! Thanks for sharing.

  18. Cute little button buck. Your images are out of this world. WOW. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  19. Gorgeous scenery, interesting 'wildlife' - :( - and the deer absolutely awesome :-)

  20. I really like the shot of the lake with the reeds - the reeds look like some form of text.

    Very nice.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  21. Hi Linda,
    Enjoyed reading and visual feast of your pictures!

  22. You've done a real great job, dear Linda!

    Thnaks for stopping by and leaving a comment ... Frauke

  23. WOW! What a great chance to take photos of the deer. The scenery is great too.

  24. Gorgeous animals! You got some awesome photos of them.

  25. That is the ultimate of welcome committees!! Lovely photos of all the scenery.

  26. Such glorious images of such beautiful scenery. And your 'new friends' are precious.

  27. Oh my goodness you got some excellant shots of the deer. That one had such tiny spikes compaired to the other buck.
    It's too bad about the obnoxious campers. Makes you wonder though why the rangers don't patrol better or more often.

  28. My elk encounter last week was about this close too. I didn't have a nice enough camera to get a very good shot, but it's scary how tame some animals are. You take the best trips!

  29. Gorgeous photographs, Linda. I especially love the early morning mist on the lake. We have a cabin on a small lake on the Peninsula, and the early misty mornings are one of my favorite things about being there.


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