Cape Disappointment State Park

6/28/15 – 7/2/15

On Sunday we drove from La Grande (temperature heading for a high of 105°) to Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington, (high temperature of 57°). We started in burned up pastures and grain fields and then drove for miles along the beautiful Columbia River. We stopped for lunch at the Oak Street Pub in Hood River, Oregon, and were served by a very smart-alecky, cute waitress. We ordered a BLT and fries to split, along with two local beers. She brought the fries first and asked if she could pull up a chair and join us. Stephen told her “No.” When she brought us the check, this is what it looked like:

Cute Waitress Check
Cute Waitress Check

Cape Disappointment marks the end of the Lewis and Clark exploratory expedition across the central and western parts of the USA. It was named because they found the Pacific Ocean but did not find the Northwest Passage they were seeking. In the park is a very interesting museum that describes the trek and has many excerpts from journals by various members of the group. The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is just outside the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and was built to protect ships at the dangerous mouth of the Columbia River.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

The park is without WiFi or cell phone access, so we drove into Ilwaco (5 miles) each morning to connect with the outside world. On Tuesday, that connection brought news of the death of Donna’s cousin, Cyndy Cashman. Cyndy was diagnosed with cancer in mid-May and fought hard, but the cancer was advanced, the pain was great, and she succumbed. This was devastating news, although her condition had been declining. Losing her was a great blow to many people.

We were camping with Donna’s high school friend, Pat Olafson, and Pat’s husband, Paul, so the four of us carried on with our touring. We visited the Long Beach Cranberry Museum and found that growing cranberries is very different from our understanding, and we visited the World Kite Museum, also in Long Beach. The Kite Museum was so fascinating, as it had exhibits and videos of the use of kites over time and place. We saw kites being used for target practice by US Naval gunners in WWII (most of the kites survived), huge competitions of fighting kites in Japan, beautifully decorated kites from China, and three-dimensional kites that looked more like balloons.

Pat, Donna and Paul at the Cranberry Museum & Research Center.
Pat, Donna and Paul at the Cranberry Museum & Research Center.
Japanese Fighting Kite
Japanese Fighting Kite.
WWII Target Kite
WWII Target Kite

We toured Oysterville, the entirety of which is a National Historical Site. It was founded in 1841, and many of the original buildings still exist.

Oysterville Church
Oysterville Church

On Wednesday we walked in the sea mist to see the North Head Lighthouse and hiked down to one of the beaches. The park has a really nice multi-use trail system, so there were hikers and cyclists everywhere. Everyone was on his or her best behavior and being thoughtful, so the trails worked well. One other marvelous aspect of the park and area is that there were no mosquitoes. That was a major bonus.

North Head Lighthouse
North Head Lighthouse
Washington coast north of North Head Lighthouse.
Washington coast north of North Head Lighthouse.

Our plan was to continue northward with Pat and Paul, but Paul’s back has decided to limit his activities, so tomorrow we will head north on our own. We were disappointed to lose P/P, but we will struggle to have a good time anyway.


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