The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

Pacific Northwest – “Ocian in view! O! The joy!” – Part One of ? –

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Back in September I took a Pacific Northwest trip.  Two weeks I had to play. What a luxury! The route went something like this:

Drove north through CA and OR.   Followed the north bank of the Columbia River west to Cape Disappointment State Park, which complements  Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, across the river,  in Astoria, OR.  After this I contoured the Olympic Peninsula coast, dallied in the Hoh Rainforest, met up with a friend in Port Townsend, then ferried over to Vancouver Island.  There I stayed in Victoria a spell, veered to the west coast, looped through the Cowichan Valley and returned home.

A long haul it was but SO worth it.

This was the road trip that convinced me to sell my gas-guzzling truck and buy a Prius.


Today’s blog focuses on Cape Disappointment.



This segment looked a little something like this on the map:

After 4,000 miles of arduous travel across the US, Lewis and Clark first spotted the Pacific Ocean standing above the Columbia River’s estuary.  The group searched this park’s side of the River for a favorable winter encampment.  Finding none, they crossed the Columbia and built a camp two miles up what is now called the Lewis and Clark River.  We know this camp as Fort Clatsop.

Next visit to this part of the world I’ll visit the Oregon side.

Cape Disappointment has 27 miles of ocean beach, miles of hiking, remnants of a Civil War era fort, and one of the oldest functioning lighthouses on the West coast.

The visitor center impressed me.  I get all nerdy over interpretive displays, movies and such.  Maps, paintings, and artifacts from the Corps of Discovery’s expedition fill several levels.  A healthy slew of maritime goodies (a lifeboat and its contents, for example) provided much entertainment.


This is the North Head Lighthouse.  Arriving at dusk, a rosy glow (not sufficiently photographed) washed over all.


The coast looks different up here compared to where I live.

A short walk I took to a promontory thought to be the initial Pacific Ocean viewpoint for the party. On November 18, 1805 Clark noted, “Towards evening we arived at the Cape disappointment on the Sea Shore.  went over a bald hill where we had a handsom view of the seashore.”  Clark described the headland as a “bald hill, covered with long corse grass.”

This map shows that headland as “You Are Here” on the lower portion of the map.

Looking south a jetty stretches off the mouth of the Columbia River.

A wide beach below formed (mostly) after the jetty’s installation (if memory serves).  The view’s changed since the Corps of Discovery stood atop.

Next day I made for that jetty and walked its length.  Cool fog coated all.  Folks were fishing from the jetty.  Made a fine spot to sit a spell and watch the pelicans fishing.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse:

A pretty little park, OR and WA are a chock-full of parkland I’ve noted.  This was my first stop along the Olympic Peninsula.

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