June 23, 2011 – Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington

Thursday was another nice with the sun shining.  We crossed the Columbia River on the Astoria-Megler Bridge.  The bridge is 4.1 miles long and stretches from Astoria, OR to Point Ellice, WA.  When opened in 1966 the bridge completed U.S. 101 as an unbroken link between the Canadian and Mexican borders.  The day the bridge opened to traffic the ferry service across the river stopped.

We stopped at Fort Columbia State Park Heritage Site.  Fort Columbia was constructed between 1896 and 1904 to support Fort Stevens and Fort Canby in defense of the Columbia River.  In 1945 the U.S. military declared the fort surplus and transferred it into the custody of the state of Washington.  It is a lot smaller than Fort Stevens but all of the buildings are still standing and are in good shape.

Battery Murphy is the main battery at the fort.

We drove on to Cape Disappointment State Park.  In 1788, British fur trader John Meares named the area Cape Disappointment after his inability to locate the river’s mouth.  Our first  stop was at the North Head Lighthouse.   This lighthouse was built in 1898 because ships coming from the North couldn’t see Cape Disappointment’s Lighthouse.   

The lighthouse is 65 feet tall and sits more than 190 feet above sea level.  In 1932, a duck was blown off course, crashed through the lighthouse window and chipped the lens.  We were disappointed that the lighthouse was closed and we could not tour it. 

This is the first lighthouse we have visited where both the lighthouse and assistant lighthouse keeper’s houses are still standing.  These are available for rent for overnight stays.

We stopped at Fort Canby, the third of the forts built to defend the Columbia River.  There wasn’t much left here just a couple of batteries.

From Fort Canby we hiked 2.6 miles round trip to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  We hiked by Dead Man Cove.

We had quite a long climb up to the lighthouse.  After many difficulties, including loss of all construction materials in a shipwreck at the mouth of the Columbia, construction of the 53-foot masonry lighthouse was completed in 1856.

Again, we could not tour this lighthouse as it was unsafe to enter. 

After we got back we took the dogs to the dog park in Warrenton.  They had a great time running around and enjoyed the park.  We also took them for a walk along the river and watched a cargo ship and a barge enter the river.  Another great sunny day.


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