In Lewis & Clark Country

Trip Start May 09, 2009
Trip End May 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Eagle's Nest Resort

Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, September 14, 2009

We've spent the last couple of days on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington. Our campground is on the southern end of the peninsula, near Cape Disappointment where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean.  It was here that Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery finally made it to the Pacific. 

Cape Disappointment was known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific" due to hundreds of ships that were wrecked trying to navigate the high waves and shifting sandbars of this area.  Looking at the turbulent waters, even in good weather, we understood the dangers that had faced ship captains trying to navigate without benefit of lighthouses.  This was finally rectified in the mid to late 1800s, when two lighthouses were built as part of an overall effort to protect the Pacific shoreline.  Yesterday we hiked to both of them:  the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and the North Head Lighthouse.  The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the west coast.  Both lighthouses are now automated and run under the auspices of the Coast Guard.

The Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center is located at Cape Disappointment, abutting the remnants of Fort Canby which was active from 1852-1947.  We spent this afternoon there and were quite impressed with the Lewis and Clark exhibits.  As we did with the paintings of Lewis and Clark that we saw in Cody, we came away from the center in awe of the feats of the Corps of Discovery in the face of tremendous challenges.

We also drove up to the northern part of the Long Beach Peninsula to the Leadbetter unit of the Willapa Wildlife Refuge.  Here, we hiked along Willapa Bay along tidal flats and a wonderful primitive beach.  On the way back, we went over to the Pacific side of the peninsula to the public beaches there; the local tourist ads claim this is the longest beach in the world -- 28 miles –and the world’s largest drivable beach.  We drove a short portion of it (just to say we did!) but found that it didn’t compare to the beauty of the wild beaches we encountered on our hikes.

Along the peninsula are some small towns, with Long Beach being the primary tourist destination and shows it with a number of t-shirt type gift shops.  Ilwaco, where our campground is, is known for its Port where there appear to be a lot of fishing charters and an attempt at retail shopping with some galleries and restaurants, many of which are close d after Labor Day.  We didn’t care, since we were not here for shopping, but to enjoy the natural beauty and history of this part of western Washington. 
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