Monday, November 4, 2019

Fort Stevens & Fort Clatsop (OR)

We left the Forks, WA, area via U.S. Highway 101 on a bright and cool August morning (26 Aug 2019). The highway was dappled with soft sunlight; and after a short while, we had brief glimpses of the northern Pacific Ocean through the dense trees. Near the Quinault Reservation (kwin-ALT), the forest opened up; and we had a clear view of the ocean. We stopped in the town of Aberdeen, WA, for gas and propane. About 40 minutes later we drove through the "Oyster Capital of the World," the town of South Bend, WA. Less than one hour later we were approaching the four-mile-long Astoria-Megler Bridge connecting Washington and Oregon States over the Columbia River. The bridge and views were impressive, but one thing that was not was the number of dead seagulls on the bridge. It was a sad and gruesome graveyard, for sure.

The huge Fort Stevens State Park Campground was full. Margaret checked with the KOA Resort nearby, but the cost for what we needed was exorbitant. The employee handed us a printout with other places to camp, and Margaret decided to try the nearby Hammond Marina RV Park. Fortunately, they had a site for us; and she paid for two nights. They offered full hook-ups, Wi-Fi, bathrooms with showers (no extra charge), and washers and dryers. Margaret made us vegan sloppy joes and potatoes for dinner, and I uploaded hundreds of photos to Flickr using the pokey Wi-Fi.

The following morning Margaret's iPhone was still not working (hence, all of the photos in this post and the corresponding locations on pages 4 & 5 in this Flickr Album were taken by Virginia). We went to the ranger station at Fort Stevens State Park, where Margaret bought a day-parking 12-month pass that allows the holder to day-park for free in any state park in Oregon. We then drove around the humongous campground, which, in addition to tent and RV camping, also had yurts available to rent. We then drove the short distance to Ocean Beach (or Peter Iredale Beach, as some refer to it) where we walked the shore and observed all that was left of the Peter Iredale shipwreck.

Peter Iredale Beach, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR.

It was a rather warm (83°F), windy, and clear day. The beach, although not hugely crowded, was more crowded than either of us prefers.

Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR.

Peter Iredale Shipwreck, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR.

Peter Iredale Shipwreck (being disrespectfully mistaken for a jungle gym!),  Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR

Peter Iredale Beach, Fort Stevens State Park, Warrenton, OR.

After our visit to the beach, we headed to Fort Clatsop in the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. Margaret and I had visited Fort Clatsop once before (in November 1995) shortly after I had moved to Oregon. The weather during each of these visits could have hardly been more different. During that first visit, the temperatures were probably in the 40s, and it was raining on and off quite hard. On this last visit, it was 85°F with bright, hot sunlight. Even though it was definitely too hot for us, we enjoyed our few hours there.

Fort Clatsop sign at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

We spent time looking at the exhibits in the visitor center, which is beautifully maintained and amply staffed.

Fort Clatsop Visitor Center.

After the visitor center, we walked the nearby trail, which was largely shaded and had several points of interest, including this bronze statue of Sacagawea (sah-CAH-gah-we-ah) and her baby.

The original fort was the winter encampment site of the Corps of Discovery from December 1805 to March 1806. By the 1850s, the original fort had gradually deteriorated and parts of it were removed until there were no surface traces remaining. A reconstruction of the fort was completed in 1955, but that replica was destroyed by fire in 2005. The current replacement was built in 2006.

The 2006 replica of Fort Clatsop.

Inside the Fort Clatsop replica.

Inside the Fort Clatsop replica.

We were fortunate enough to have arrived in time to watch a reenactment that recounted the history of the Corps of Discovery and demonstrated how to load and fire a musket.

A reenactment at Fort Clatsop.

We walked behind a ranger-led group, which began on the Fort to Sea Trail; but because the sea is seven miles away in a westerly direction, we detoured south to the South Slough Trail and returned to the fort via the Netul River Trail. 

A trail sign at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

The beginning of the Fort to Sea Trail at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

A wooden walkway on the Fort to Sea Trail at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

A guide-led group on a trail at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

I believe this bridge was on the South Slough Trail at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

Virginia and Margaret on a trail at Lewis and Clark Historical State Park.

After two hours of walking the trails, we were happy to freshen up at the visitor center before returning to Peaches and the Roadtrek, which was parked in the shade with the Maxx Air Fan going to keep her cool.

The next morning we took showers and filled the freshwater tank. As we were leaving the RV park, we were stopped by a young woman who was curious about us and the Roadtrek after watching a video about an RV nomad woman in her Roadtrek posted by Cheap RV Living. We talked for a few minutes, and we gave her one of our "business" cards before saying our goodbyes.

We needed to pick up a few things, so we stopped at the Walmart in Warrenton, OR. On one of the aisles, we saw the woman we had just spoken to at the RV park. She saw us and laughingly said, “Didn’t I just see you two a little while ago?” It turns out she worked at Walmart. What a coincidence!

We continued south on U.S. Highway 101, stopping frequently at viewpoints and turnouts to take photographs. We noticed several "Campground Full" signs that became concerning when we started looking for someplace to camp that night, the Wednesday before Labor Day weekend. Yikes! We were feeling pretty desperate by the time we came upon Barview Jetty County Campground in Tillamook County which was purportedly full. It was late and getting dark, so Margaret tried to squeak us into it, anyway. Lucky for us, it turned out that there were two small, non-reservable sites available. We were quite relieved to be able to have a campsite for five nights to get us through the busy Labor Day weekend coming up. Hooray!

We were quite busy and had a lot to see in Tillamook County. Stay tuned for that entry, and thanks for reading! 

NOTE: Clicking on the photos in the post will open them in a larger view (recommended!). If you want to see more photos of the beautiful places we've shared, we have them in this Flickr Collection: Over the Hill Sisters Photo Collection.


Mary Jo said...

Great pictures. I love the one of you and Margaret I don't remember reading this when you first made this trip.

Virginia Hill said...

Thanks for your comment, Mary Jo! If you are referring to our first visit to this area--that was in 1995. We were barely online then. In fact, you and I (and the rest of the Loop Ladies) hadn't even "met" yet. That came about six months later. :)