Sunday, June 12, 2016

Fort Columbia

The weather today was spectacular.  It was windy, but the sun was out and the skies were blue.  We went to Fort Columbia.  It has been there since 1904.  There are still gun emplacements and bunkers.  The concrete bunkers look really good for their age.

The buildings are in really good shape as well.  This is the commander's house.  Above it and to the left (highest up the hill) was the doctor's house.  The fort was so isolated that they had to have onsite coverage.  Although only two chimneys are visible in the picture, he had three.  It was a very nice hacienda, which would be warm in winter.

When sitting on his front porch, the commander could look out to sea and observe Cape Disappointment and the light house. 

We were there to hike.  If you go up the hill to the right of the commander's house, there is a trail.  While we were looking at the fort, we were lamenting the fact that we had not brought jackets.  The wind was just vicious.  If we'd had them, we would have taken them on the hike, which would have been bad.  Once in the trees, we were sheltered from the wind and it was very pleasant.  We did the left side of the loop first.  It starts out wide, and then becomes very narrow and overgrown.

These flowers are everywhere.  They frequently fall down because their heads are too big.

This was taken along the trail.  See the white line in the water?  That's the dreaded bar, the Graveyard of the Pacific.

More floral beauty.  The insides of each bell have very cool markings.

An impediment along the trail.  Notice the moss and the narrowness of the trail.  At this point it was no longer passable by ATV.


The right hand side of the loop is a wide path.  It's also very steep, but is easy walking.

After hiking we continued in to Ilwaco because we were starving.  As is so often the way, we went and expended a bunch of calories on an uphill slog and then blew it immediately afterwards.  We went to the Portside Cafe.  It's locally owned and operated.

We both had the hand spanked hamburgers on butter brushed and grilled hamburger buns.  We were good and did not get the cheese.  Jim got the potato salad which was very good.  I got the fries which were average.  If you go, ask for extra napkins, you will need them.

We went back into Cape Disappointment State Park and drove up to the north jetty.  It's pretty out there.

See the big rocks?  That's what makes up the jetty.  Big giant rocks.  In the background you can see the light house.  

The north and south jetties were begun in 1895 and took thirty years to build.  A rail line was constructed to carry basalt rocks that had been barged out to the work area.  The rail cars could dump to either side, and were used to build up the jetties.  It took years for the jetties to stabilize the area and narrow the channel.  After the jetties were complete, the river was essentially narrowed. This increased flow rate and resulted in sand being washed out of the river.  It collected on the north side of the north jetty.  Over 1,000 acres of new land formed over the following 30 years.

There is an article in the Astorian about this.  I have screen scraped the best two pictures of the jetty construction. 

It's amazing to me how unafraid people of that era were in regards to altering their environments.  If they weren't building jetties, they were hosing the hills of Seattle into Elliot Bay.  No Environmental Impact Statements needed here.

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