Oregon and Washington
While not a boat related post we did just spend eight great days on or near the water in Oregon and Washington. Reason for the trip was to attend a wedding in Gearhart, Oregon. Where is Gearhart? That’s what we asked ourselves when we received the invitation from Peter and Shannon. Peter is the son of our Lake George neighbor and friends Bob and Tibby Christenberry. The decision was easy. Sure we will go.
Gearhart it turns out is on the coast approximately 1.5 hours from Portland, Oregon. We flew in on a Friday and stayed at a great B&B in Seaside three miles to the south. The wedding was Saturday at the “Lodge at Little Beach”. While the wind was up and a chill was in the air the setting and event could not have been better. The funky band played for hours under the tent and Cath and I had a blast. Thank you Peter and Shannon. Hope your trip was fun.
The Oregon coast is wet and wild. Just to the south of Seaside was Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park. Cannon Beach had the gray clapboard homes that reminded us of Rhode Island. A long day trip after the wedding took us to Fort Stevens State Park at the very northern tip of Oregon. Standing on the shore one can view the often deadly entrance to the Columbia River. Known as the graveyard of the Pacific the waters around the Columbia River mouth have claimed nearly 2000 wrecks and over 700 lives. On the shore at Fort Stevens sits the remains of the Peter Iredale. Wrecked in 1906 only the skeleton of the bow is still visible. Several miles up river lies the historic town of Astoria. Known originally for its canneries and logging Astoria now hosts visitors for dining and its museum. The Columbia River Maritime Museum is well worth the visit. A small movie theater runs a 10 minute show describing the power and might of the Columbia River and its glorious past.
We spent the next day driving up the Columbia River gorge stopping at every waterfall along the way. As scenic as I had read we were however surprised at the lack of boat traffic. There were some wind surfers and the occasional commercial boats but nothing else. The river actually seemed quite serene compared to the depiction in the movie.
We spent two nights in Yakima WA. A decent venue for visiting Washington wine country. We were disappointed in the wines of this region as they tend to be Reislings, Syrahs and Cabernets but not much in the way of Chardonnays. Our second day trip from Yakima found us at Mt Rainier. What a spectacular National Park. Rising to 14,410 feet Mt Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous US. There are several visitor areas and we chose Sunrise, the highest elevation available by car. A long hike provided awesome scenery and the siting of a bear. A couple from Idaho said it was a grizzly but we learned later that grizzlys don’t inhabit this part of the US so it had to be a brown “black bear”.
From Yakima it was on to the Olympic Peninsula for a three day stay at the George Washington Inn. The inn, a replica of George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits on a bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The host and owner Janet was wonderful and provided breakfast each morning on a glass enclosed porch with view of Vancouver BC.
Olympic National Park rivals Mt Rainier park for its beauty. Over the course of two long days we traveled to the Hoh Rain Forest, took a guided walking tour to learn about Marmots, (groundhogs in NJ) and hiked to Third Beach on the Pacific. Janet had recommended the historic (circa 1916) Lake Crescent Lodge for dinner. We were able to eat on the porch and watch a beautiful sunset. Lake Crescent reminded us of our own Lake George.
While it is unclear whether we will ever cross the Columbia River bar on “Big Smile” we did promise ourselves a return visit someday.