A Visit to the End of the Continent, Washington

The past few months have been pretty crazy with transferring to a new building and relocating into the city and somehow a weekend outing with my co-workers got lost in the mix. Back in March, on a rain Saturday, I ventured down south to Long Beach to explore the peninsula and Cape Disappointment. I know what your thinking…Cape Disappointment…really, what kind of name is that? I thought the same thing however it wasn’t such a disappointment. Let’s start at the beginning.

Although I have already visited Long Beach, this time was a bit different. It was raining and chilly and spending time on a beach with this kind of weather is not ideal. So as a back up plan, we hit downtown Long Beach and explored the cute  little shops including a antique museum, a candy shop, a bread shop and a kite shop. Let’s just say when you get 5 therapists together anything becomes a good time. “Fried Therapist” standing in front of a frying pan…now that’s funny. One interesting fact about Long Beach is that LB is the most western point reached on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

From LB, we headed further south towards Cape Disappointment. By this point in the day, the weather started to clear up a little bit and we actually was able to see up and down the coast line. Before actually visiting Cape Disappointment lighthouse, we made a pit stop at another lighthouse called North Head. These lighthouses located up and down the WA coast line also doubled as access areas by the U.S. Military and Weather Service. Quite interesting actually.

We finally made our way to the Cape Disappointment Headquarters, which also doubled as Fort Canby, built to defend the entrance of the Columbia River during World War II. Apparently this location was manned by specialized troops by the U.S. Army, who were trained to respond to all possible threats from enemy warships and operated high-powered weaponry that was the world’s best and most modern technology of the times. I had no idea that Cape Disappointment was also a large military fort, not to mention breath-taking.

Another interesting fact about this location: “Welcome to the Edge of the Continent”. I’ll explain (thanks to the park services). With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Jefferson sent four exploring parties to chart the lands newly added to the United States. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the most famous expedition, which ended here at the Pacific Ocean. Their expedition charted a well-inhabited land little known to Europeans and Americans. Just thought I’d throw a little history lesson towards your way.

It’s quite surprising actually when I start to think that I stood at the far western point of this country starring into the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Hope to enjoy many more of these mapless adventures. Stay tuned 🙂 Click here for pictures.

Westport, WA

Westport, Washington- Home to WA tallest lighthouse

Since my plan for the weekend was to do nothing (this lasted a whole 2 hours), I decided to take a drive to check out what the buzz was about  Westport; a small coastal town is located roughly 20 miles south of Aberdeen. I didn’t really know anything about this town or what to expect, but what I experienced today was more than I could have hoped for. I started the day wandering the boardwalk that was full of small shoppes, fishing charter companies, and lots and lots of TAFFY!  I spent some time on the rocky shoreline watching surfers catch some waves. It wasn’t the best surfing weather, though not raining, and people in WA driven to spend as much time outdoors as possible when the weather is pleasant.

For lunch, I went to Bennett’s Fish Shack, which was packed and smelled delightful. What better way to decide on a place to eat, right?!?! As usually, I went for the fish and chips with a cup of clam chowder washed down with an organic amber beer! Washington has yet to disappointment me with this selection. I might just eat my way down the Washington Coastline finding the best fish and chips! Anyone care to join me?

During lunch, I started chatting with a couple who invited me to go crabbing with them. It was just like what you see on The Deadlist Catch, expect it’s done off a dock, not as dangerous, and much easier. All that’s needed are crab rings or pods, raw chicken, line, and open water! Looks like I have added another “to-do” on to my never ending list. This couple taught me the rules to crabbing, the difference between red-rock crab and dungeness crab (red vs. purple-brownish), and how to tell if the crab is a male or female. This was my first crabbing experience.

Standing on the dock, I started hearing this grunting noise and noticed heads popping out of the water. SEA LIONS were following boats into the marina and that’s when I was told about the sea lions dock. Sea lions are not friendly but on this dock, I was standing only 20 feet away and they weren’t even fazed by all commotion. There has been attacks in the past according to a fishing guide, but today they were pleasant (thank goodness for my sake).

Now onto the lighthouse (my first lighthouse experience). Known as Grays Harbor Lighthouse, built in 1897/1898, standing 107′ tall, with 135 steps to the top, this lighthouse lends a friendly note that a safe harbor is near. This is the tallest lighthouse in WA and the third tallest on the west coast.  Originally, the lighthouse stood 400 feet from high tide and now stands 3000 feet from high tide. For full information on the lighthouse, click here, as if I continued this post would never end.

Cranberry Bogs were next on my list and another first experience. Ocean Spray has a factory between Aberdeen and Grayland (24 miles apart/4 miles south of Westport)  and of all the cranberry bogs in Grayland, only 1 DOES NOT sell to Ocean Spray. It’s strange to think that whenever I drink Ocean Spray cranberry juice, I could be drinking cranberries grown just south of me. There is an entire driving tour surrounding Grayland’s cranberry bogs and I only did about 1/3 of the self-guided tour and plan on finishing this tour on another day. If you want more information, Click here. I did take pictures of the first cranberry bog, which was planted by E.B. Benn in about 1919; the Stevens variety bog, which are generally ripen and grow earlier and have a sweeter taste; gray spots in bogs damaged by cranberry black vine weevils; and 1818 Cranberry Road which is the historic site on which the Furford Picker was first used (machine used to harvest cranberries).

All of the above was completed in a mere 6 hours. I am still amazed by the gems surrounding Aberdeen and each week my love for this state  continues to grow. My 3 month anniversary is approaching and when I think back to all I’ve seen and done, I can’t help but think “I’m where I should be”. Stay tuned to see what my next mapless adventure is going to be!

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