Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Washington Coast and more

Ruby Beach - Washington coast
We made a trip into Seattle to visit friends and made a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park near Jackson Square. This little museum tells about the gold rush in a way that is easy to understand and keeps you interested as you walk around. Why is it in Seattle? Because Seattle was the only hub to get supplies and transportation to the Klondike Gold Rush area. You might say the gold rush is what made Seattle a major city. 

Worlds largest Spruce Tree
at Quinault Lake
We spent most of the month of July on the coast of Washington. The first home base was Copalis Beach where we were a 10 minute walk to the shore. The wind never stopped and it was cloudy most of the time. There were a few times when the wind was lighter and we walked or rode our bikes on the beach. We used this location to explore the west side of the Olympic peninsula up to Ruby Beach and Quinault Lake in Olympic National Park. This side of the National Park is a rain forest so the forest is extremely dense and there are huge trees, including some record breakers. We explored the coast from Ocean Shores to Ruby Beach checking out all the little coastal towns and state parks. 
Riding bike on beach at Copalis Beach

Our next move was to Ilwaco, WA at the southwest tip of the state near the Columbia River. We were a couple miles off of the ocean coast and half a mile from the river. We explored up the coast to the famous Long Beach where it was crowded but spent most of our time exploring historical sites along the river. There is a lot of history about Lewis and Clark, early inhabitants and exploration in the area, the history of shipping and fishing in the area, the amazing treacherous mouth of the river and its claiming over a thousand ships over the last two hundred years, and the Forts that protected the mouth of the Columbia through World War II. It was a busy and fun two weeks exploring this area which was a split between Washington and Oregon on both sides of the river. 
Where the Columbia River meets
the Pacific Ocean. This is huge, five
miles across the river so this is a
panoramic pic from the Cape
Disappointment Lighthouse

Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
from the Cape Disappointment
We saw lots of great things so I'll just give some brief highlights of our favorite sites. First, if you look back at the history  of this blog you'll see us going to a lot of Lewis and Clark (Corp of Discovery) sites and recommending the book Undaunted Courage. Coming to this area to see where they finally arrived, explored, and spent the winter was fantastic. There is a great Lewis & Clark National Historical Park with a half dozen locations and an Interpretive Center that are great. The Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria, OR is fantastic, also with a lot of information on the history of the river. Cape Disappointment State Park is a must see with the aforementioned Interpretive Center but also the light houses, beach, views and explanation of "Columbia River Bar" and jetties. Great stuff. Fort Columbia was interesting too.
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse from
the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
Fort Clatsop replica
 One last note, we drove down to Cannon Beach, OR to check it out and see the famous Haystack Rock. Nice beach if you can handle the relentless wind.

Hatchet head believed to be
used by Sgt Gass, the expedition
carpenter, on the expedition
A comment on the pictures. The nice weather in the pictures is attributed to two things - they were taken in late July after the weather finally got nicer and we did our exploring with picture taking on nice days. Weather along the coast has a very large percentage of fog and clouds even in the summer.

Lightship Columbia at Columbia River
Maritime Museum

Astoria Column in
Astoria, OR

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