To the Sea, To the Sea
“Ocian in view! O! the joy.” Wrote Capt. William Clark in his journal on November 7, 1805. I know that joy today as we arrive in Cannon Beach after several years absence.
- We drive along the Washington side of the Columbia River from Longview to Cathlamet.
- A spur of the moment decision finds us waiting on the Puget Island Ferry, the last ferry operating on the Lower Columbia. The ferry departs Puget Island on the Washington side of the river on the hour. Stopping to absorb the surroundings is a nice alternative to rushing down the highway.
- We listen to local conversation as the ferry operators chat with the regulars and tease the children. We overhear the lady in the pickup next to us on her cell phone; she’s asking if someone was in Denver when they had the 4” of rain and hail. Our eyebrows shoot up, knowing we need to check this out.
- Nine cars and trucks make the 11am crossing. Ten minutes and $3 brings us to Westport, Oregon.
- The sun shines on Astoria, Oregon today. On previous visits, under grey, wet skies I’ve always thought of Astoria as rather forlorn. The town seems much cheerier under bright blue skies.
- Lunch at the Gunderson’s Cannery Cafe on the dock of the Sixth Street viewing tower. I order crab cakes, Bob salmon cakes and we share. To my amazement I preferred the salmon.
- Lewis and Clark National Park encompasses seven national historic sites plus state parks in Oregon and Washington, all significantly tied to the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. The corps spent the winter of 1805-06 at the quickly erected Fort Clatsop. It was a forlorn 106-day stay with rain all but 12 days, illness and scant supplies.
- We browse museum displays, watch an orientation movie, visit the replica fort and walk trails through the thick forests. Unfortunately the ranger programs don’t start until next week.
- Arriving in Cannon Beach we check into our oceanfront accommodations at Tolovana Inn.
- Happily nested, we decide to eat on the property at Mo’s. Famous for their clam chowder, Mo’s Seafood Restaurants dot the Oregon coast.
- What better way to end the day than a sunset beach walk?