Recently, Tamron sent a team of us to the Northwest to work with the Columbia Camera Club Council. I got a chance to spend one day on the coast of the Pacific northwest (where I had not been), around Cape Disappointment, the end of the trail of Lewis and Clarks’ great expedition to the Pacific at the dawn of the westward movement of settlers.
The coast is sparsely populated. The drive along state highway 4 and US 101 west from Longview, beside the Columbia river, is a tale of twists and turns through tiny villages and great scenery. There are thousands of acres of rainforest and rugged mountains. There are tugboats pushing great barges along the river, funky country stores and diners to explore. Eventually, it ends at Cape Disappointment and the Long Beach peninsula, where the Columbia empties into the Pacific. The peninsula runs straight north and south facing the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded by Leadbetter Point State Park covering its north tip, the Willapa Bay on the west and Baker Bay on the southwest. The Columbia River is on the south and is connected to the mainland by a land bridge.
I had never seen the confluence of the Columbia and the Pacific. I have to say, it is amazing. I got to spend an evening and part of a day around Long Beach, Washington. It’s a wonderful village smack in the middle of the longest beach in the world, fronting on the Pacific Ocean. At about 50 miles long, the beach is over twice Daytona’s famed length. And like Daytona, the public is permitted to drive on it. In addition to being long, it is wide, really wide. The surf is often really rough. (Consider that the Columbia forces massive amounts of outflow into the ocean, conflicting with the southbound flow of the ocean’s coastal stream.)
Long Beach Peninsula is a really interesting town to visit. From the funky and fun tee shirt emporiums (like Stormin’ Norman’s) to the ice cream shop, with the HUGE servings (Scoopers) to the fudge shops, to the more upscale eateries, it takes one back in time. Cape Disappointment is home to two lighthouses, though I had to miss them this trip. A side trip to Oystertown produced a great dinner of clams and a few cool photos.
When I left Long Beach for the three-hour drive to the Portland airport, I had the chance to stop in Ilwaco and see the Pacific from just about where Lewis and Clark viewed it hundreds of feet above the shore, after their amazing adventure. I also visited the Ilwaco fishing fleet port, crossed the mighty Columbia to Astoria Oregon and then to Portland.