Tag Archives: Oregon

Astoria

I have probably mentioned before that Portland Parks and Recreation sponsors van trips for seniors at a very reasonable price. Today’s trip was to Astoria, the oldest settlement (of US and British) in the Pacific Northwest at the mouth of the Columbia River. Named for John Jacob Astor, who had a vision of a trading empire, the settlement had a rough start in 1811-13. (Read about the start in Philip Stark’s Astoria.)

First lunch.

Astoria lu ch

The boat above was originally a fishing boat–now it houses service of fish and chips–the fish is whatever the catch of the morning, and delicious. My friend Jean and I had additional eating plans, but we ran out of time.

Of the many sights, we chose to start with the Columbia River Maritime Museum. I like the architectural rendition of ocean waves.

Maritime Museum

Inside were stories of shipwrecks and rescues and exhibits of old maps, maps that not only showed large empty spaces on the continent, but also creative fictions of an imagined northwest passage, California as an island, and Quivira, a place which if it existed, did not contain the gold expected.  Also there were meticulous records of areas that were explored and recorded, sketches of the explored part on an otherwise blank page.

The difficulties of navigating ships through the sand bar created by the force of the Pacific waves against the exiting Columbia River at the 5-mile wide mouth were explained and illustrated by video. Especially harrowing was the video of the pilot transferring from his small boat to the incoming ship in need of his assistance.

There were the expected photos and models of ships and other equipment.

Astoria diving gear

The only inside photo I got was of this 1940s diving gear.

The museum was large enough and interesting enough that we spent most of our allotted three hours in it, saving everything else we had wanted to see for another trip.

A sidelight.  I had a 2002 travel guide for reference. When it was written, admission to the museum was $4.00 for seniors. We paid $12.00. I had expected increase, but not that much.

Of course the area is scenic.

Astoria Columbia

Astoria River View

The mountains in the distance are Washington state. The five-mile bridge that connects OR and WA is the longest [some qualifier that I don’t remember] in the US.

Astoria bridge

A view of the bridge at museum level.

Astoria Bridge 2

And a view from atop Coxcomb Hill (600 ft.), the site of the Astoria Column.

Astoria column

Some hardy souls walked up the 168 steps; most of us stayed on the ground and viewed the wrap around mural of history of explorations in the northwest.

Next on my agenda is getting back to some quilting projects that have been languishing.

 

 

 

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Head of the Metolius River

Metolius River just beyond headAfter following the trail to the head of the Metolius, this is the first view. It was my first time to visit the head of any river, and I expected something more like a trickle! In the actual view, one of the mountains was off in the distance, farther away than my camera can “see.” Turning to the left I saw the actual head, the springs bubbling forth.

head of metolius RiverThere really is water down there in those shadows.  It pours out and almost instantly is a river. Our cabin at Cool Springs Resort was a few miles on down, and the rushing water was a very soothing sound. There was a trail from the resort area to the head, but we opted to drive to a paved and accessible trail with a shorter walk.

TrailNext year we will allow more time for nature when we go to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. From what we did see, we could tell it is worth more time than we gave it.

 

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Summer Travel Memories

As the rainy season begins, memories of summer sun are good. One highlight was the Dee Wright observatory.

Dee Wright Observatory

Made of the same basalt rock as surrounds it, the observatory blends into the setting. A CCC project of the thirties, it draws visitors to the 360-degree views of seven mountains. We were happy to see five of the seven; two hazy for the others.

Mt Washington through portal

Mt Washington

There are several portals like this, each focusing on one of the mountains. Each mountain has a stone carved label, still legible but getting worn.  One year I tried to photograph the mountain and the label, but I couldn’t make the light work to show both. The next view is of one of the volcanoes from about 2000 years ago that created the landscape.

View of basalt and volcano

Scenery is like this for the last several miles of driving to the observatory. There was so little regrowth that we were quite surprised at how long since the volcano had erupted.

Snow Covered Mountains

Two of the Three Sisters mountains

The Three Sisters are the mountains that gave the town, Sisters, its name. I love looking at that snow in the hot July sun!

A second summer destination was Columbia Hills State Park in Washington–about two hours from Portland, just across the Columbia River. It is the actual site of many petroglyphs (carved in stone) and pictographs (painted on stone). Others were moved there from lower locations to preserve them when the dam at The Dalles was built. Several are located right by the parking lot and always accessible.

turtle like petroglyph

Although it looks like a turtle, the guide reminded us that no one but the artist knows for sure. The guide made no attempt to explain symbols, though some reference was necessary for discussion. You can see by the shadows that that one was carved. The next ones are pictographs.

broken pictographowl like pictograph

They have not tried to date the images, first because it would require chipping some of the stone. And second because they would have to date each one. There is no reason to assume all were created at the same time. The above were available to all. The special one, She Who Watches (below), was accessible only by guided tour. We made our reservations in March for July. At the time we were the first, but there were already reservations for June. There is room for only 20 people per tour and two tours a week.

she who watches

The legend is that as more Europeans were settling in the area, coyote came to the chief to report on the problems. She expressed a wish to watch over her people forever, so coyote changed her to stone.

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