Cape Disappointment, Washington
Awesome, epic if you will. My kind of vacay. With hubby on our twelfth wedding anniversary. Head to Portland, then Cannon Beach to play in the waves and walk in the sand (I’ll be returning there with the girls!), Seaside, Astoria, up and over the giant 4.1 mile long bridge that actually made me grab onto my husband’s arm and squeal, and then reaching our Washington side again (no joke, it started raining as soon as we crossed), and continuing up the coast on the 101, we finally make it to Cape Disappointment, which, by name alone, was like a moth to a flame for me. It just sounds like a day of sheer bliss.
We drive through the huge state park and stop at several view points, and we come upon one of many hiking paths. Now my husband and I are not very in-shape, like, we can do a couple miles and be okay, but add some hills and the asthma’s making its presence. Keep in mind we’d already walked a couple miles at Cannon Beach, around the stores shopping for the girls, and well, let’s be honest, had margaritas with dinner in Astoria, olé.
Bell’s View Trail, .25 miles out and .25 miles back. Sure! Bit of an incline, cool old and nasty cement bunkers used after Pearl Harbor by the Army as preparation for attacks on the West Coast. Wood water tower from the Depression era. Trees and ferns and shrubbery and everything that makes me feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful wooden deck overhanging a cliff that showed a view up Long Beach (I can only assume based on the map telling me so, it was foggy). Little visitor maps along the way explaining the history of the area. The foggiest area in the United States. Windstorms of over 150 miles an hour, hurricane like weather. Seven feet (FEET!) of rain in the nine fall/winter/spring months, and then a “mild” summer (as we stand there looking at a nice wall of fog and getting rained on – July 2nd mind you).
After glorious trail number one, we did not see the lighthouse we were after. Verizon not working in the middle of nowhere, so we’re a little lost. See another sign for lighthouse, another loop .25 miles out and back, why not. We’re here, and this is why we came.
Freaking renovations and the lighthouse is covered in scaffolding. Cool sign explaining how they’re restoring it to its original colors and putting windows back in where the Coast Guard had filled them in back around the 1930s. Cool. Bummer, but cool.
Raining pretty well now, little sore in the calves. Still enjoying my husband’s company and having a surprisingly wonderful time considering the name of the place.
Get back to the car and there’s a whole little kiosk of maps. Turns out this lighthouse was called North Head Lighthouse and not the one I wanted when I first found the place online from the comfort of my couch back home. Should we drive down and find a viewpoint of the other, the real, one? Well ya, I wanted a Lighthouse adventure didn’t I? Never been here before, was kind of the point. Okay, back in the car, no cell service. Following signs to Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and Lewis & Clark Center, few miles away.
Get to the parking lot and can’t see a thing. No lookout. No cool viewing spot. No standard silver binoculars to see anything from. Trees, trees, and trees. Map saying .2 miles to Lewis & Clark Center, or .5 out to the Lighthouse. Dude, getting a little tired and it’s close to dusk (park closes at dusk, remember honey). I want to walk to Center and hope there’s a lookout from there. Hubby starts up trail to Lighthouse. There were words.
Then a couple come down the trail from the Lighthouse with two little toddlers and look pretty happy. I get up the nerve to ask if they happen to know if you can see the Lighthouse from the Center? No, they didn’t, but, BUT, she says “I’m a grandma, and if I can do it, you can do it.” I’m in my late thirties and my husband mid forties, we can do this.
Up we go, and down down down. Up again, dooowwwn. Already having a hard time breathing, heart racing. Come out to a cove, very cool. We’re definitely down the mountain now in a little valley. See a little map showing we’re halfway there. Giant road heading up. Not kidding, even Richard Simmons would have a hard time on this one. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. If we’d had our daughter’s inhaler on us, we would have used it. Can’t believe this hill. Can’t believe a grandma did this.
Get to lighthouse and it’s almost dusk. Joking that we’ll have to be rescued from the park rangers, hopefully not get locked in the park as the campground was all full. Ha ha, except a little worried.
Lighthouse was fairly cool. Needs a good pressure washing. Definitely not worth dying over. But yay, we made it. Pictures of the hubby, who was taking a ceremonious smoke (I told you, we’re not that in-shape).
Shit, gotta head back, and quickly, mind you. Seriously don’t want to be locked in. Sleeping in back of the new Outback might sound like fun, but not all sweaty and nasty like we are now.
I’ll leave out the horrific twists and turns of the return journey, but let’s just say there was a moment when I was on all fours in the middle of the trail and I was trying to say between gasps of breath that the damn grandma must do pilates like three times a day, because this was bullshit.
Seriously, that was no mediocre trail, and it’s not just because I think I might be the most out-of-shape person in the northern hemisphere at this moment, it was a grueling path with deep valleys and high peaks. Not to be done by the middle (the new middle) aged people who enjoy reading and watching soccer games, and well, one of us smokes.
Cool pics though.
Made it out of the park and kept driving up the coast and found a little adorable hole-in-the-wall motel with really clean bathrooms to shower in, so we have that going for us. Pretty sure I’m not going to be able to walk well for a week. I’ll stop and buy Ibuprofen in the morning.
Happy anniversary my love.