Posts Tagged With: Lewis and Clark

The Astoria Column

The Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

The Astoria Column (photo by David Keaton)

It’s 125 feet tall. And you can climb up the inside of it on a metal spiral staircase. Your legs will burn, you will be very glad for each landing where you can stop and take a breather and rest your legs. But once at the top – you will have one of the best views on the Oregon coast. “It” is the Astoria Column, built in 1926 as a monument to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

The Story of the Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

The Story of the Astoria Column (Photo by David Keaton)

Typically, Astoria is usually a bit cloudy if not down-right rainy, so the view is hit-and-miss. This abnormally beautiful April day, the skies were completely clear, like nothing I have ever seen. We could even see Mt. St. Helens from the Astoria-Megler Bridge as we headed from the Washington side of the Columbia River to Astoria.

Mt. St. Helens from the Astoria-Megler Bridge

Mt. St. Helens from the Astoria-Megler Bridge

It’s fairly easy to find the column. You can easily see it and just head towards it and eventually you will see a white column icon on the roads that lead to the column. It’s a short winding drive up the hill, then there is plenty of parking, restrooms, and a small gift shop where you pay your $2.00 fee.

View to the south, Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

View to the south (photo by David Keaton)

Even without going in the column the view is beautiful. To the south you can see Saddle Mountain and it’s obvious why it was named that. You can look down and see the area where the replica of Fort Clatsop, Lewis and Clark’s home for a short time, is set. You can’t help but look at that beautiful river and want to take a kayak on a long, slow cruise.

Beautiful outside of column, Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

Beautiful outside of column (Photo by David Keaton)

Before you go into the column, notice the writings and the drawings depicting the expedition, on the outside, going all the way up. Then you enter the column through a door at the bottom and start your climb up. It’s a long climb, but there are landings every so many steps where you can step out of the way of others and rest your legs and catch your breath for a minute. Once you come out on top there is a 360 degree walkaround to take in every bit of the view.

Astoria Column Spiral Staircase, Astoria, Oregon

Astoria Column Spiral Staircase (photo by David Keaton)

Off to the north is the mighty Columbia River. Maybe you’ll catch sight of a container ship, so large it dwarfs the houses down below.

View to the north - Columbia River, from the Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

View to the north – Columbia River (photo by David Keaton)

To the northwest is the Astoria-Megler Bridge looking so long you think, “I came across that huge thing?!”

To the west - Astoria-Megler Bridge leading to Washington, Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

To the west – Astoria-Megler Bridge leading to Washington (Photo by David Keaton)

To the northwest and west, looking endless, is the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Looking south again is the even better view of Saddle Mountain.

Saddle Mountain, view from Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

Saddle Mountain (photo by David Keaton)

The eastern view will reveal the dense northwest forests that the area is known for.

Eastern View - Endless Northwest Forest from the Astoria Column, Astoria, Oregon

Eastern View – Endless Northwest Forest (photo by David Keaton)

The Astoria Column puts the beauty of the northwest Oregon coast on display for all who choose to visit. It really is a fitting tribute to the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Getting there (from http://astoriacolumn.org/visit/hours-fees-and-directions/): The Astoria Column is located at 1 Coxcomb Drive. Directional signs can be found on 14th and 16th Streets.

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Historical, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Learning About Fish: Bonneville Fish Hatchery, Oregon

 

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White Sturgeon – he’s looking at you!

When would you guess that the Bonneville Fish Hatchery in Cascade Locks, Oregon was built? 1990’s? 1970’s? During the hippy days of the 1960’s? Would you believe it was 1909?! I was very surprised because I didn’t think hatcheries came into existence until much more recently in response to dams and concerns about endangered fish. But this one was built as a rearing site for eggs that were received from other hatcheries. At that time it was known as “Central Hatchery”. The hatchery sits on Tanner Creek, which flows into the Columbia River. In 1930 it was expanded to be able to hold 11 million salmon. It was expanded again in 1978 and again in 1998. The facilities are built on the site where Lewis and Clark camped on April 9, 1806!

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Bonneville Fish Hatchery Grounds

We spent one recent spring day there and it was heartwarming to see so many other families there introducing their children to the fish and learning about conservation and the lives of fish. The beautifully manicured grounds is very welcoming. You can pick up a free tour guide that will lead you around the facility and tell you all about it and what fish are in each pond or “battery” as some of the rearing ponds are called.

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Fish “Batteries”

There are beautiful Rainbow Trout ponds.

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Trout!

You can even feed the fish. There are vending machines and for a small price you can buy food and toss it to the fish and watch them snap it up very quickly.

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Josh feeding the trout

The White Sturgeon Pond was amazing! The fish are the size of a tree trunk! You can watch them swimming lazily through the water from above, or go down below into a view area and feel like they are swimming straight towards you. Kids love to see how the Sturgeon look like they have their bones on the outside of their body. They’re very majestic looking fish though, and you can’t help but stare at them for a very long time.

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White Sturgeon next to tree trunk

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Sturgeon Viewing Room

You can also see the Egg Incubation Building which is on the National Historic Register and includes a Visitor Information Center.

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Incubator Building

There is another small Visitor Center in the building that holds the offices for the Hatchery. You can also see the Spawning Room in that building and view a 12-minute video explaining spawning.1-IMG_3259

Finally, you have to stop at the Oregon Wildlife Bonneville Gift Shop where they have a lot of souvenirs and wildlife conservation items to choose from. All proceeds benefit fish and wildlife projects.

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Gift Shop

To help you plan your visit you can see the Tour Guide here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/docs/Bonneville_Hatchery_Self-guided_Tour.pdf

From April to August the hatchery is open from 7:30am-8pm. September and October hours are 7:30am-7pm. November to March it’s open from 7:30-5pm.

Getting there: Take I-84 east from Portland to exit 40 Bonneville Dam/Fish Hatchery and just follow the signs.

Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lewis and Clark Salt Works, Seaside, Oregon

Salt Works SignSalt Cairn Fence

In the touristy little town of Seaside, Oregon, are replicas of the structures (known as “cairns”) where Lewis and Clark’s men boiled sea water to evaporate the water and gather salt to season their food and preserve their meat. These cairns were ovens built of rock and shaped like an upside down “u”. Wood was piled beneath the rocks and a fire built and kept constantly going. Between December of 1805 and February of 1806, three men worked with five brass kettles boiling 24 hours a day, going through over 1400 gallons of seawater to make enough salt for the expedition to use on their return home. They were able to make three quarts to one gallon each day and ended up with over 20 gallons of salt.

Salt Cairn

Replica of Salt Cairn

A Clatsop Indian woman named Jennie Michele, was the one who showed the Oregon Historical Society where the salt works had been located. They built a fence around the area for protection and in 1910 the owner of the property, Charles M. Cartwright, deeded the site to the historical society. In 1955, the replica salt cairns were built by the Lions Club using sketches from the Lewis and Clark’s journals. In 1978 the site became part of the Fort Clatsop National Memorial.

To commemorate the historical importance of the Salt Works, every year during the third weekend in August, re-enactors from the Seaside Museum and Historical Society, provide an opportunity for families to head to the beach and learn about the process of making salt. Kids can bring trinkets to “trade” with the “explorers.” It is also the perfect chance for kids to ask questions about life in the early 1800’s and imagine what it would have been like to live back then. It’s a great experience because they won’t find the actors breaking role, so they won’t talk about iPhones and video games. They can learn the history in a hands-on way, helping to tend fires and boil the seawater to make salt. Once again, any time kids can touch history, they will remember it.Salt Cairn Narrative

Getting there: Take Hwy. 101 to the town of Seaside. Turn west on Avenue G. Follow the signs to South Beach Drive and Lewis and Clark Way.

Categories: Historical, Oregon, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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