I hadn’t really paid much attention to the achievements of Lewis and Clark till now. OK, I knew they were explorers of the American West, but that was about the limit. I suppose I’d heard their names mentioned frequently a few years ago, when the bicentennial of their expedition was celebrated. However, here in the Northwest USA, their names crop up all over the place and it was time to learn more.
This morning, we began by visiting Coxcomb Hill, site of the Astoria Tower and from where we could get a superb view of the bridge way down below. Those 4 miles seem more real when seen from this angle.
The Astoria Tower was constructed in the 1920s and features Lewis and Clark’s expedition amongst other notable Astoria events. It’s pretty amazing in terms of the fine details included and the artwork is worthy of closer inspection.
We resisted the temptation to climb the tower for a better view of the landscape, our excuse being the poor visibility, of course.
Instead, we read the interpretive signs and began our study of the day’s heroes.
It was not far from here that the pair reached their goal and having done so, were able to turn around and return home. We noted the Lewis and Clark National Park site nearby where they had spent the winter and, with Mary’s Golden Pass at the ready, we decided to head there for our next stop.
Here, we watched a short film about their journey and with increased respect for their achievements, felt motivated to find out more. Fortunately the displays were well done and offered all the information in a very accessible form.
In particular, we were keen to find out who these men were and how they came to be asked to make this (at times) horrendous journey into the unknown. We also learned what happened after they got back again – all our questions answered!
Sacagewea was the heroine and the focus of many stories. This bronze of her with Jean-Baptiste, her child, stood in the woods on the path leading to the reconstruction of the shelter the expedition team made as shelter during the winter they spent here.
It was her room I stepped into first, recognising it as hers by the papoose hanging on the wall.
This whole exhibition and reconstruction was really well done and we felt that we’d done dear Lewis and Clark justice, not to mention Sacagewea.
As I was photographing interesting bark on the trees, Mark’s phone rang – Father’s Day greetings from Edward, back home, which quite made Mark’s day. Bless…
Finally, time to hit the coast, here at the aptly named town of Seaside. The weather was still a bit iffy, with “a little bracing dampness in the air” (ref The Adventures of Portland Bill, 1980s)
But we “sausaged through” (ref Mr Rosenblum’s List) and as we travelled further south, the weather improved.
We offered thanks to Oswald West, former Governor of Oregon who ensured that this whole coast remained accessible to the public and for whom this little outcrop is named.
By now, we were feeling ready for “home”, but couldn’t resist a short stop at Cape Foulweather where a couple had been watching whales offshore. We stood and looked a while but saw nothing.
The seascape was spectacular.
But the coastline down where we were headed was better. We hopped back into the car and drove a short while south to Newport, where our hotel awaited. After such a long and satisfying day, we were ready to put our feet up.
Dinner tonight was popcorn shrimp at Gino’s on the Bayside in Newport. Very good it was too!