Plan C

After our visit to Fort Clatsop in Oregon we decided to explore Fort Stevens State Park, an historic military reservation that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River. We followed road signs to the Columbia River, hoping to find an overlook. There was a path there somewhere but I admit that I wimped out. The rain was too heavy. Instead we followed a sign and walked down a boardwalk to a wildlife viewing bunker. It offered some shelter from the rain. But the wildlife was on a break. No sightings, no autographs.

Fort Clatsop Visitor Center

Part of our visit to Fort Clatsop, shown yesterday, included a wander through the nearby visitor center. Interpretive information leads through the journey of the Corps of Discovery and highlights what life might have held for the 31 voyagers as they moved through uncharted lands.

The Lewis and Clark expedition would surely have met a different fate without the help of Native Americans along the way. Native American dugout canoes like the one shown here aided the Corps in their travels. Impressed by the vessels, Sergeant Gass wrote:

The natives of this country ought to have the credit of making the finest canoes, perhaps in the world, both as to service and beauty; and are no less expert in working them when made.

The exhibit was enhanced by copies of the incomparable photographs of Edward S. Curtis taken in the Pacific Northwest a hundred years later. If you’re not familiar with the work of Curtis, use the link to get to know him better.

Fort Clatsop

The weather didn’t cooperate on our recent camping trip to Oregon. No beach walks or forest strolls. But we had a Plan B: Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, a collection of sites that honors the explorations of the Corps of Discovery in Oregon and Washington at the mouth of the Columbia River.

From 1804 to 1806 the 31 member expedition, led by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, explored territories west of the Mississippi River largely unknown to white settlers. The Lewis and Clark Expedition produced early maps of the western territories as well as providing extensive scientific identification of flora and fauna. It was an epic, fascinating journey.

The Corps wintered at Fort Clatsop from December 1805 to March 1806. The original fort has vanished but a reconstruction from Clark’s journal imagines the fort as it likely was.

The Corps of Discovery spent 100 days at the fort and it rained every day but 12. We experienced the fort under authentic conditions. It was pouring rain.

Spring camping? I’m in!

You’d think a camping trip in mid-May would be a great prelude to summer, wouldn’t you? Well, I did. It seemed like a great idea in March and April. Maybe it was impatience with winter. Maybe I was dazzled by spring blossoms. I convinced myself that even if it wasn’t all that warm at least it would be dry. Yeah, sure.

Here’s a view of our welcome at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon.

The bridge at Deception Pass

Our cruise through Deception Pass on the way home from the San Juan Islands was placid enough that I enjoyed the views of the Deception Pass Bridge.

This is one of those lovely, classic bridges, completed in 1935. It was complemented by one of the few brief periods of blue skies that we enjoyed on the trip.

Before it was built travelers used an inter-island ferry to move between the islands that are now connected by this bridge.