Published: September 30th 2007
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Coast GuardCoast GuardCoast Guard

Here they are...patrolling our coasts.
All of us went to the lighthouses today. They had predicted rain, but apparently they’re not any better at predicting weather in Washington than they are in Montana, because it was sunny and warm~~perfect weather for touring. The first lighthouse we went to was at Cape Disappointment~~the Cape was named by a British fur trader after his inability to locate the river's mouth. This coast is especially hazardous because of all the sandbars, and undertows. The ocean is very powerful along the coast between the mouth of the Columbia and the tip of the peninsula, which is almost entirely rock. The sand in the water shifts so rapidly that the maps weren't able to inform the ship captains of the sandbars. There have been over 2000 recorded shipwrecks. (One was only three weeks ago. A sardine fishing ship was pumping in water to keep the fish cool and the pump quit, filling the ship to the sinking point. The captain and his wife drowned, but the three crewmembers got to the shore safely. We saw something about it on MSN, but didn’t read it carefully enough to know it was here. We didn’t hear one word about it in this area.
Cape DisappointmentCape DisappointmentCape Disappointment

A view of the lighthouse as you approach. I know that was a silly statment, but these lighthouses can't be seen from very far down the walking paths, so all of a sudden they just seem to appear. The little building in front is where the supplies were kept, and where the keepers did their maintanence.
We learned of it today, from the lighthouse tour guide.) The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built with the expectation that it would be seen from the river, as well as the ocean. Tourists aren't allowed inside this lighthouses.

The second one is named North Head Lighthouse, and stands 65’ tall. It was built in 1898, when the Coast Guard realized the ships coming from the north couldn’t see the Cape Disappointment lighthouse. We were allowed to climb to the top of this one, and see scenery that was so beautiful that I can't even begin to describe it. It’s a very rocky area, with such angry waves hitting rocky cliffs.

There is always a dredge at the Columbia River Bar, dredging 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just to keep the water open.

I don’t really have a picture of this lighthouse. It isn’t painted the pretty striped colors that Cape D is. Both of them are still operational for guiding ships, as well as weather forecasting.

I can see how people get hooked on lighthouses. They have such interesting histories, as well as the incredible views.

Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


North Head LighthouseNorth Head Lighthouse
North Head Lighthouse

Lighthouses flash their lights at intervals that are unique to each one. NH lighthouse flashes at 6.5 and 21.5 second intervals. The lens is rotated by electricity, with generator backup. The existing light can be seen 17 miles out to sea. We weren't allowed out on the deck, as the rail has rusted through in two places, but there wasn't really a reason to go outside, as the inside view had more than your eyes could handle.

The dredge works every day, 24 hours a day, clearing the sand, and therefore keeping the waterways open.

This is what the lighthouses were and are warning the ships about. The sound and beauty of these waves was overwhelming.
Stable rockStable rock
Stable rock

This guy is kind of committed to his position in the water! When we first got to the top of the lighthouse, the water was hardly washing over the rock, and you could watch the water flow down the rivets in the rock. We watched the tide come up and almost cover it completely.

We don't know what this was intended for, but it's concrete, and about the size of the average closet. It's on the path hiking up to the Cape D lighthouse, and apparently a lot of people thought it was there so they could write who they love on the walls. Notice the fern growing at the top, and the ivy trailing down the front. The whole mile long path was overflowing with the Boston ferns.
Windy, you think?Windy, you think?
Windy, you think?

This was on the path from the North Head Lighthouse to the gift shop (what did I tell you?!) The wind was not blowing that day....the trees just grow that way because of the wind that blows up the coolee. The winds have been recorded at 120 mph at that site. That's probably not real common, but apparently constant wind is.

1st October 2007

gun & amunition room
Carl said that some of the places we have gone by forts and such had places that looked like this and were to store amunition and guns. What do you think?
1st October 2007

It sure could be. Most of that talk was among the guys, and I didn't pretend to follow along. If someone else says it, go with their commentary! Are you at the cabin?
5th May 2009

Been there!
Nice post, thanks for sharing some experiences of your travel, I envy you, because you had a chance to get some shots of the light house, in my visit heavy rain stopped me on getting some pix of the L.h.. any way thanks! I have see more pictures of the nearby university in this link,
6th May 2009

Thank you for looking at my blog!
Washington was gorgeous, but we did have lots of rain.

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