Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Columbia River Bar

Posted by MEG
One of the most violent bits of waterway is its estuary - the place where the river and the ocean meet.  The Columbia River bar is one of the worst anywhere in the world.  The mighty Columbia's massive flow of fresh water meets the onrushing Pacific Ocean as they are in a constant state of trying to reach equilibrium - a balance they will never find.  An incoming tide and a rain-swollen river are the two key ingredients for the most violent of these encounters.  Today was not that day, fortunately.


We had stopped at another spot to look at the Columbia, and saw a large freighter working its way down the channel.  Wanting to see it go over the Columbia River bar, we rushed over to another point a little downstream.  Alas, the ship channel turned away  from our bank of the river to center itself for its trip over the bar.  Also, it turned out to be a much further trek to a good viewing point than we had guessed.  We tried to walk out on the jetty, but it was home to some very big and very jaggedly placed rocks.  the crossing was very much slower than we anticipated.  The jetty runs a long ways out into the Pacific.  We were only able to go a short distance out before we realized the sun was going to set before we got out as far as we wished so we turned back. 

It was interesting to see the waves crashing into the jetty.  With each wave came a thundering splash of ocean spray, and yet, the jetty remained unmoved.  It absorbed the pounding of the waves as if it cared not about the niggling presence of the Pacific Ocean.  And there we stood, safe from the pounding waves - the same waves that only a couple miles down the beach destroyed the iron ship, the Peter Iredale.  So is the one who stands firm on the word of God.  Though the waves crash or the storms rage, he who stands firm on God's word will remain.


Let's Go Fly a Kite

We couldn't help noticing as we walked along the beach and explored the Peter Iredale Shipwreck, there were no TREES in sight and there WAS a wind.  We've been looking for these kite-flying conditions since Launny gave us a couple of new kites.

This kite is incredible. Check it out - it's a pair of LEGS. There was a cross-country race going on at the beach....who could resist?

We all had fun flying the legs....this kite has NO STICKS... we need to find more like it.

The kite is designed by Martin Lester and sold by New Tech Kites.

Peter Iredale Shipwreck

Fort Stevens State Park is AMAZING. One of the intriguing things to see in this 3, 763 acre park is the Peter Iredale Shipwreck.

The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel ship built in England in 1890 and owned by the British shipping firm Iredale & Porter. It was bound for Portland, OR, where it was to pick up a cargo of wheat for the United Kingdom. In the early morning of October 25, "a heavy southwest wind blew and a strong current prevailed. Before the vessel could be veered around, she was in the breakers and all efforts to her off were unavailing."
She came to rest at Clatsop Beach. The lifesaving station at Point Adams quickly responded and no lives were lost. The wrecked ship became an immediate tourist attraction and continues to be so.


Clark's Dismal Nitch

Imagine it's 1805, you've been on an expedition across the continent of America. Your fresh food has run out. Your clothes are rotting off your back and you are traveling as fast as you can down the Columbia River to meet one of the last trading ships of the season. You have an unlimited line of credit from President Jefferson and plan to refill your stocks soon. This is the situation the Corps of Discovery found themselves in that November 1805.
Instead, they ran into some of their most treacherous moments. A fierce Pacific storm pinned them to this small, rocky cove that is little more than jagged rocks and steep hillside. Capt. William Clark described the spot as "that dismal little nitch," and the name stuck. For six days the Corps was trapped by fierce wind and high waves.  For only the second time in the expedition Clark wrote he was concerned for the safety of the corps. He also wrote,  “A feeling person would be distressed by our situation.” They were in danger of floundering within a few miles of their goal - the Pacific Ocean.

The storm broke, they missed the trading ship but reached their goal.  They moved on to Station Camp and then to establish a winter camp among the Clatsop tribe. You can read more about this incident here.
This is a beautiful little rest area now.  On this sunny day it was hard to imagine the danger the Corps of Discovery faced. The scenery is beautiful as you look across the Columbia River into the state of Oregon. Eagles nest nearby and sea lions and seals chase salmon in the waters below. Quite a few stopped to read the informational signs along the walk.

Little dots are sea lions
 We declared we've seen Washington now. We'll go ahead and put the sticker on our map.  I look forward to future trips - we've just scratched the surface. It's time to move on to Oregon.