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Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

How I choose where to wander is as varied as the places I visit. Sometimes it is to experience someplace new and exciting. Sometimes it is to visit an old friend. Usually it is based on what is in bloom (if anything) and always, weather is a factor. Right now Spring cannot get a grip. Snow in the passes, traction tire requirements and avalanche mitigation pretty much shuts off eastern Washington for me. And here at home we cannot muster 50 degree+ days. We have already had 70% of our April average rainfall. So what to do, I have the weekend free? On Flickr, the photo sharing site, I participate in a photo scavenger hunt. The first of the month we get a new list of topics or concepts to capture. Often they are solid subjects like "tripod" or "board game" . Other times they are abstract, like "silence" "a cliche". This month my list decided my destination. With subjects like "Black and White" "wave" "guide" and the perplexing "skyless sunset" I opted for the far southwest coast; Long Beach and Cape Disappointment.

I am currently reading Undaunted Courage" by Stephen Ambrose. It is a wonderfully written history of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Cape Disappointment is where they first met the Pacific. It is where they spent their miserable Fall / Winter. Long Beach is exactly that, and amazing stretch of uninterrupted sand. The peninsula juts north along the coast. The Willapa estuary which forms along its east side and stretches inland is world famous for oysters.

In Long Beach you can enjoy tons of dining opportunities and ample lodging options; basic to swanky. I captured "skyless sunset" in a true ah ha! moment running back from seeing the sunset in the only rain (while not driving) of the weekend. I wish I had captured a safety image, this ones zoom focus was so bad. It was just a moment of right light and color.

I was disappointed to not be able to get to the unique Kite Museum (closed Sunday mornings). Long Beach regularly sponsors kite flying events and conventions. But I did capture this image for the subject "fly". While the Flickr group administrator is in the Netherlands, topics are listed in English. Fly lends itself to many interpretations.

Lewis and Clark spent many sad days along this coast. It was here they took what may have been the first truly democratic vote in US history. Every member of the team voted equally on where to spend the winter. The vote was taken at Dismal Notch and York, a Black slave and Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman, were included in the vote. Dismal Notch is just east of the Astoria Bridge. Here the river looks lovely and peaceful ...

...but to the west, on the rising tide you can see and hear the crashing of the rivers outflow when it meets the rising tide. The Columbia Bar is one of the most dangerous waterways in the world. The Coast Guard maintains two important stations on either side of the river.

River pilots are required for ships coming in and going out. Rescues are often carried out. This is Dead Mans Cove, just north of the Cape Lighthouse. Name such for obvious reasons. This is one of the historic spots for wreck recoveries.

Lewis and Clark were trapped at Dismal Notch by a week long storm in November of 1805. This area is subject to fierce rains and gales. The little cove they were trapped in did have a creek where they could easily get salmon for food. Today there is a nice bronze monument documenting the efforts of the party to break away from their camp and reach their ultimate destination. I knew I wanted Sacagawea to be my "guide" subject and I am happy I stopped at this place.

Cape Disappointment is wonderful for exploring. There are two different lighthouses and plenty of exciting wave and rock action. I knew that one of the lighthouses was likely to be black and white and waves are given at the ocean. Lighthouses are wonderful subjects.

I was thrilled at this wave photo.

Walking on the beach is not as nice as the beach up at ShiShi. Here cars are allowed to drive on the beach. To me, it is a wrong choice. There is far too much pollution and garbage washed up onto the beach and almost no interesting rocks or shells to seek. But I stumbled upon this seabird feather, the perfect black and white capture.

Some years ago a dead Gray Whale washed up on the north end of Long Beach. There was much discussion as to how to dispose of the very large carcass. Ultimately it was decided to simply bury it on site. Several years later permission was granted to dig it up. The skeleton was carefully preserved and assembled on the beach in Long Beach town. Lewis and Clark had recorded finding a dead whale and it certainly fits in neatly with experiencing some of what Clark saw here.

At Cape Disappointment there is a wonderful Lewis and Clark Museum. I really liked seeing some of the little details. Reproductions of their journals made me appreciate how great their scientific work was. These journals were simply paper tablets covered with soft leather. They were no more than 6 x 9 inches. Detail of the handwriting shows amazingly neat tiny script, beautifully penned, filling every page with exacting detail. There is also a section in the museum about early shipping and the history of shipwrecks off the cape. One display shows how lighthouse lanterns are focused using prisms. You get to manipulate the prisms on a miniature light to make it focus. I like things like that.

For me the highlight of the weekend was dinner at Jimellas Market Cafe. Owned by Jimella Lucas and Nanci Main owners of the now closed Ark Restaurant. I knew the Ark was world famous and I figured this was going to be as good as it could be. It was! Fresh fish given a simple grill prep. Fresh crispy asparagus and snow peas, lovingly prepared. A little salad I would never have thought would work; arugula, grapefruit and Kalamata olive. It was sweet, tangy, bitter and salty all in one perfect balance. Add a glass of wine and a fresh , homemade herb roll and I was one happy camper. Add the simple, come as you are surroundings, perfection. I might have to check into one of their many cookbooks to see if I can learn some secrets.

I will happily return to this beach if only to fly a kite (for the first time) and have more lovely dining experiences with Nanci and Jimella.


  1. This looks like a must visit place. Great photography, too. Don't know if its the new camera or you or both, but your photography is really tremendous in these shots.

  2. Hi! That feather photo is great! And thanks for this tour, you are the ultimate guide for this region! If we ever get back to the west coast, I will have to refer to your posts. It's so nice to have 'my own' west coast tour guide.
    I be you were wishing you were there with Lewis and Clark.

  3. I'm finally catching up, Marti. And, I was glad to see that there was one of your wonderful entries for me to savor. That whale skeleton picture is fantastic. You truly have a knack for finding the unusual and the beautiful!

  4. Ron Jim and Louise, thank you for your kind words.

    Ron I think my eye is developing, certainly the glass is better.

    Jim the thing I would have most like to see is the Tall and Short Grass Prairies, The Great Falls and Ciello Falls. I was at Ciello today and only can imagine what it must have been like. I have seen the sonar images of the under river terrain and the falls must have been spectacular.

    Louise I guess we are fortunate that there are land holders, citizens and the government which want to preserve these things you and I see as treasure.