Moving to Hawaii • Cape Disappointment • Astoria, OR • September 15, 2017
Jess: On our last day in Washington, we left our campsite in Olympic National Forest and continued to follow US-101 South towards the Columbia River. We drove down to Cape Disappointment State Park for the morning. I’m sorry to say, but it really didn’t live up to its name. 😉 It was one of the many places I wanted to visit along the coast, and it so happened to have a good letterbox that Curtis was eager to get, so it was a win-win.
Curtis: Cape Disappointment was named by John Meares, a British fur trader/explorer, who, in 1788, while exploring the coast, turned back just North of the Columbia River, failing to be the first to discover that important river. The cape was later used by the Corps of Discovery before they moved South across the Columbia for the Winter. And in modern history, the Cape was home to multiple coastal batteries and lighthouses.
We started on the short hike to Deadman’s Cove and had it all to ourselves early that morning. No dead pirates either. Next, we hiked up to Cape Disappoint Lighthouse to the South (there are 2 in the park). Supposedly, Cape Disappointment receives over 100 days of fog a year making it one of the foggiest places in the US. Today, however, the cape was more smokey than foggy from a wildfire burning up the river.
Jess: The letterbox clues took us to a secret fort that the park maps said was inaccessible…and I totally believe them. Initially Curtis was just going to go grab the box and log in, but when he arrived at the location he texted me and told me to come because it was so cool. I would have had no idea where to go had I not had Charlotte leading the way, following his scent! It was definitely worth the trailblazing, however Curtis had a little run in with stinging nettles while going after the letterbox. It was a good one though, so he toughed it out! The Endicott Battery we ended up at had additional views across the Columbia, and by the time we got there the smoke had cleared enough for us to see across.
Before leaving, we walked to see the second lighthouse (which was currently under construction), visited the visitor’s center and admired the pretty coastal views, and walked along the beach to the North. It’s easy to spend a good amount of time here because it’s so beautiful, and it wasn’t too busy on this Friday morning. While we were standing on the high cliffs looking out on the Pacific, we noticed how beautiful the coastal mountain range in Oregon was, and made a note of what could be a possible hike for the next day.
Once finished, we drove to the border and crossed the long bridge into Astoria, our first time in Oregon! We made a few stops in the town, first to visit a Whispering Giant statue, next to get gas (where we experienced the pleasure of being able to sit in the car while the worker pumped the gas for us), and finally grabbed some Mexican food to go.
Only now realizing that it was a Friday night, we were pretty nervous about the camping situation: we were planning on camping in Tillamook State Forest and spots were limited, and being so close to the coast and a major city on a beautiful weekend made our chances of finding a vacant slim. However, we lucked out finding a pull off on a random back road with access to a river. We were a little unsure about the legitimacy of the site, but ended up camping there 2 nights without interruption. It was the perfect spot to enjoy our last nights of camping while on vacation!