A few salmon photos that is…of several artistic trash bins celebrating Astoria’s rich salmon fishing history. I “caught” these floating among the sidewalks along the waterfront.
We are camped at Fort Stevens State Park and have enjoyed exploring an area known for being at the mouth of the Columbia River and the turnaround point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
The campground is the largest Oregon state park with more than 500 campsites. Before you wince at that number, we must tell you that the loops are arranged such that we felt like we were in quiet, small campground most of the time. We were joined by many resident mosquitoes, however, who enjoyed the swampy surroundings and lush vegetation. A dense, tall forest keeps it comfortable for them. Our campfire and a ring of defense chemicals (including Bounce sheets) kept them at bay.)
Speaking of defense, Fort Stevens was a military installation from the Civil War through World War II, with many batteries, such as the one pictured, standing by to protect the Columbia entrance.
Our son Andrew drove from his Portland home to join our expedition that included a walk to the ocean to see the 1906 wreck of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground while looking for the Columbia River mouth.
To find where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific in 1805, we crossed the Columbia River on a three-mile bridge from Astoria and found the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Our 11-mile roundtrip trek from Cape Disappointment took us through forest where William Clark and his men camped.
The cape got its name in 1788 from an English captain who could not find the Columbia River mouth. Disappointing. I’ll say!
Some nice ocean views and Waikiki Beach (east!) marked our walk. Our destination was the North Head Lighthouse, which was shrouded with scaffolding while undergoing restoration.
While looking for a place to spend the winter, Lewis and Clark canoed across the river to what is now Oregon and quickly built Fort Clatsop, part of Lewis and Clark National Park. We decided to go back by car.
We found that the Park Service had rebuilt the fort and we covered our ears while a ranger demonstrated an early 19th-century rifle firing. During her talk, she told us that a misfire was called a “flash in the pan” and the gun’s parts gave us the expression, “lock, stock, and barrel.”
The fort is also the site of some family history. We brought Andrew here when he was one year old. Actually, younger sons Brad and Chris were here too, in a much more confined state.
…or have we? When Reg reserved our “one night stand” at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park on the coast of Oregon, we both had a pretty clear memory of our prior visit and a mental picture of where we’d be staying as we headed up the Oregon Coast.
When Reg pulled into the campground I commented that it was much more forested than I remembered. Without another thought we checked in, quickly set up camp and headed out to explore the ‘hood.
Following a one mile trail that looped around Lake Marie, Reg marveled at our surprise discovery. “I never would have guessed this lake was here,” he said as we watched children splashing in the swimming area.
When the camp host told us the Lighthouse was just a short quarter mile walk from our campground, we began to have reservations about our reservation! Perhaps we were not where we thought we were…
Slightly disoriented, we arrived at the Lighthouse and realized why everything felt so unfamiliar. As it turns out, we’ve never been to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park before…until today that is! A chat with a crusty old sea captain type who was selling admissions to the Lighthouse Museum cleared up our confusion, reassuring us that we weren’t completely losing our minds. It seems our memories (and where we thought we had a reservation) are from (we think) Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of here…where there is no lake and the campsites are not quite so forested!
It’s been awhile since we’ve given our hiking shoes a real workout, so today we put them (and ourselves) to the test along the 5 1/2 mile Humbug Mountain trail. We hoped the promised ocean views would help distract us from the 1,748 foot climb.
The trail immediately began to rise, eventually leading us through a dense forest of amazing old-growth Douglas Fir, wildflowers and ferns. As switchbacks led us back and forth up the mountain, Reg began to wonder just when we would see those Pacific Ocean views.
At last we arrived at a break in the trees and were rewarded with a view north, up the Oregon Coast toward Port Orford. We snuck several more peeks before trees grew dense and the trail took a turn, continuing up, up, up. Surely, we thought, the view from the summit would be spectacular!
This little bench marked the end of the trail. While I rested my feet, Reg documented our achievement with a quick photo. Unfortunately, as the last picture shows, trees have blocked most of the views from the top. Still, it was hard to be disappointed. The hike was beautiful, we had made it to the top…and back down again…with plenty of energy to spare!
A stop in Redding, California for a walk across the unique Sundial Bridge and along the raging Sacramento River left us looking for lunch downtown. We stumbled upon Damburger, which opened in 1938 at the construction site of Shasta Dam. It is a classic burger, fries and shake place that offers indoor and patio seating. Is it worth the short trip off I-5? Dam(n) right it is!
An evening of beer tasting and dinner at Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico was a highlight of our weekend visit with son Brad and his girlfriend Ashley.
Can you spare some change? These machines in downtown Chico, California, ask passersby to reduce panhandling and help the needy. Feed the machine a few coins or a donation from your credit/debit card. A green light blinks for a time, depending on the amount of your donation. The money goes to local agencies that help those in need.
Our Thanksgiving weekend was drawing to a close, but we had time for one more outing before my dad and brother made the long drive home to Southern California.
Because the predicted rain had not yet arrived, Reg and I suggested a drive into the mountains to grab a bite to eat at one of our favorite spots – Lake of the Woods.
Once refueled, we continued onward, choosing not to backtrack, but to continue forward, returning home along a different route.
It was a small sign along the highway that caught Reg's attention. “Historical Bridge next left” it said and before we knew it we were bouncing along a narrow country road in search of a piece of Oregon history.
The official construction date of the Lost Creek Bridge is listed as 1919, although many locals claim the bridge was built as early as 1879 – 1881, which would make it the oldest standing covered bridge in Oregon. It was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1979.
If you want to document your visit, there is a registry to sign on the bridge…but be sure to bring along a pen. If one was ever provided, it is long gone. You will also find a picturesque little park adjacent to the bridge which is just perfect for a picnic lunch.