While getting off the porch and going to the beach is not a new “off the Porch” activity, Poncho and I did make a stop at Cape Disappointment State Park. I find it amazing how many times we have driven by and never stopped to explore one of the state’s nicest parks.
Of course the day we head off on our adventure the weather turns cool and showery. No worries though. When one lives in the Pacific Northwest, one learns how to enjoy the outdoors when it’s wet ;>P.
Located at the base of the Long Beach Peninsula, the Cape is on the north side of the mouth to the Columbia River. The name “Cape Disappointment” comes from the English Captain John Meares who missed the passage over the river’s bar thus the entrance to the river in 1788. In 1792, American Captain Robert Gray successfully crossed the bar and named the river for his ship the Columbia Rediviva. In 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition made it to the Cape. The Columbia River bar is one of the most dangerous in the world and is known as “the graveyard of the Pacific.”
For this reason the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built-in 1856. Today, it is the oldest lighthouse still in use on the West Coast.
While the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse helped guide ships into the Columbia River it could not be seen by ships approaching from the north. The North Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1898 to protect these ships. We had the opportunity to climb to the top of the North Head Lighthouse. The view from that height was certainly spectacular.
Both lighthouses were put under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard in 1939, and the North Head Lighthouse was taken over by the State of Washington Parks system a couple of years ago. Both are still in use today.