By mid-morning, we set off to find Cape Disappointment. The reason it is named so is because when Lewis and Clark discovered it in 1805, they found the camping fees to be so high that they had to turn back around and go home. The tradition of exorbitant camp fees continues to this day.
The road leading to the entrance is extremely windy and hilly, so campers have no heart to drive that road back out and the state park can charge what it wants. For no hookups at a bland site, it is $20 and the prices rise from there. The park website does a good job of obfuscating what the actual prices are until you arrive and check in.
Most of the sites are reserved online, but there is a first-come-first-serve area and we choose a spot with full sun.
Hubs and I drive into the nearest town to do laundry in a ramshackle building where only half of the washers and dryers actually work. Many have socks stretched over the coin slots.
The only shop that appears to still be in business is an antique store. We peruse their amassment of old dusty stuff while waiting for our clothes to wash. Next, we walk down to the marina where we meet a man restoring a beautiful 1970's CT41Ketch (this isn't his boat, but the kind he is working on).
He is living in the boatyard while he works on it, and intends to spend the winter off the coast of Mexico. Now that's an idea!
Back at camp, I pack a picnic lunch and we sit on Waikiki Beach, surrounded by driftwood forts, and enjoy warm french bread, smoked gouda, sparkling strawberry juice, and spicy pickles while feeling like royalty.
In order to work off some of that cheese, we walk up to the lighthouse aftewards. Built in 1856, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse has looked down on far too many catastrophes at the mouth of the Columbia River, where over 2,000 large ships have sunk in the last two hundred years. It is known as the Graveyard of the Pacific.
There is a man with an 8x10 field camera shooting the mouth of the Columbia River, and I am drawn to field cameras like a moth to a flame. His name is Robby McClaran and he is a professional photographer from Portland. He knows much about this area and is very informative about the history and geography of what we are looking over.
Off in the distance is Saddle Mountain in Oregon.
If you look closely, you can see the spouts from a pod of whales passing through.
This area is so dangerous that ships wait at the entrance to the Columbia Bar for a special bar pilot to come aboard before proceeding. Several jetties were built out into the water to decrease the wave size, and as a result the neighboring peninsula has accumulated a quarter mile of sand along its shore.
There are still a few minutes of daylight left and we drive down the road to Long Beach.
There is a big brown sign that says BEACH with an arrow, so we turn and follow. This is where all that sand from the jetties has been building up.
Just a bit down that road, I see something that makes my heart skip a beat.
I will give you a hint, but there is much more coming tomorrow: