Monday, June 27, 2016

Cape Disappointment State Park

This park used to be called Fort Canby, and I don't know that the name change makes it more alluring, although it's a great park if you can get past the moniker.

We decided too late that this would be our June destination and had to reserve three different campsites since none were available consecutively. Here is Arvie in the first spot with the ocean just past those trees, the roar of which I think sounds not unlike a distant freeway. 

The weather for the first day and a half was rainy, but that did not deter us from a walk on the beach and a climb on some rocks. Needless to say, we had this stretch of beach to ourselves. 

 Next we walked out to McKenzie Head, a short hike up a hill to one of the old fort's batteries.

A sun break view of the Cape D Lighthouse, one of two at the park.

The tunnel under the battery was so eerie. I didn't realize it had so many rooms off the main tunnel when we walked through the first time, I just followed the light at the end. But coming back through, I used my camera's flash to take pictures, and couldn't get out of there fast enough once I realized it wasn't just a single tunnel. In this picture, I could not see The Big Guy or that room to the left with my naked eye.

Another of the rooms off the main tunnel. I have no idea how deep this is, and I really don't care to know. All I could think of was zombies lurching out of the darkness. I don't even like looking at these pictures. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
The only other activity we did the first day was a very long after dinner walk through all the camping loops, scoping out our spots for the rest of the weekend. This is a big park and just walking the camping sections is quite the trek.

 Because we had to move sites the next day and didn't want to have to interrupt our activities to do so, we drove the rig down to the boat launch parking lot and took off on foot from there. 

It was still a little rainy and gray, but this pretty girl didn't mind at all.

Another of the old fort's remains. Not creepy.

Never a bad view, even on a gray morning.

Our first destination of the day. We toured the center and chatted with the volunteers working the front desk, something we may end up doing ourselves someday when we become full-time RVers. You heard me.

The view of the Interpretive Center from the Cape D Lighthouse, which we neglected to take up-close pictures of, apparently.

After our hike back down, we had lunch, then drove the RV to our next spot. I mean to say, I drove, which I also did for about 10 miles on the way out and from the first spot to the boat launch. I even backed into our site. No, really, I did. 

Our afternoon adventure was to hike the North Head Trail to the other lighthouse. It was very muddy in some spots, and there were frogs jumping everywhere. The map says it is 1.5 miles, so we'll go with that, but I that seems a bit conservative.

By the time we reached the top, the sun had broken through, and it was quite warm and humid.

 We did manage to take a picture of this lighthouse.

More than one. It was actually difficult to get a nice photo since there were other people about and the modern buildings with their wires and towers mar the scenery from certain vantages.

Nothing marring this vantage. I didn't see anything but ocean, though.

On the way back, we saw a few of these, this one was perhaps the largest garter snake I've ever seen, although with nothing to provide scale in this photo I can't show you how fat it really was. I'm sure it's from a frog-rich diet.

There were several of these signs posted throughout the park. I desperately wanted the opportunity to stay away from a baby seal and allow it to sleep, and we searched and searched for a baby seal to stay away from, but we never found one. I think it would be nice if these signs could include when might be the best time to not disturb a baby seal. 

Also located throughout the park are these phones. 

You can use them in emergencies. Or for pizza. Same diff.

"Hello, 911? I have abdominal pain. Please send pizza."

I neglected to get a photo of Arvie in the Friday night spot because I was distracted by Marco, one of our neighbors. The people were nice, too, but not as cute. Marco wasn't yet skilled enough to deter the gaze of raccoons that stole into their camp in the middle of the night, tipping over their weighted-down coolers and making off with their eggs. 

We spent the rest of that evening relaxing, having logged more than 10 miles on foot total for the day. We also made use of the nice shower facilities in the park, which only ran us 0.75 cents total. 

Our Saturday adventures started with a ride on the Discovery Trail, a lovely paved trail that runs from Ilwaco to Long Beach. We once again parked the rig at the boat launch and had to pedal the park roads up to the trail access. That part was all downhill, but the trail itself is relatively flat.

 There are some points of interest along the way.

While Capt. Clark contemplates a large sturgeon, I have employed the old finger-in-the-gun-barrel trick.

Gray whale bones from a juvenile that beached in 2000. I thought it was kind of funny that the chained area surrounds the sculptures and not the actual whale bones.

On the return trip, we rode up to the North Head Lighthouse again and took the Bell's View spur trail to the lookout.

Our last site, dry camping. I drove to this spot, but I did not finish the parking. Better not to ask. Let's just say, some driving lessons are more challenging than others. 

We cooled off, literally, by taking a long walk on the beach. Although the sun was warm, the wind was cool, and we took off our shoes to keep our feet warm in the hot sand. We walked a long way, and I remarked that the sand was hurting my toes. It was, as I discovered later, giving the bottom of a couple toes some blisters! Luckily, I got my shoes on before they got really bad, but, as The Big Guy said, who ever heard of walking barefoot in the sand causing blisters?

Our walk was longer than we'd thought, and we had to hurry up and eat dinner because we'd planned to get down to Waikiki Beach for the summer concert series where we were also meeting a friend of mine who just so happened to be staying in Ilwaco for the weekend. We were running out of time, so we decided to drive down to the parking area in the rig.

 This is the view of the platform stage, the bleacher seats, and the natural seating on the rock face.

We sat on the bleachers. It was warm in the sun, but the wind was chilly. The musicians mentioned that their fingers were getting numb, but despite that, the music was great.

While my friend and I visited before the show, The Big Guy got a few shots of the view from Waikiki Beach.

After the concert, we visited in the rig for awhile longer, then we made our way back to camp.

Where someone else was parked in our spot.

Hey, remember these? We drove around until we found one, and tried to call the ranger. They gave us another number to call, which ended up being voice mail for an administration number. Not helpful, emergency phone!

We drove around a little more, and found an employee, who said he'd contact the ranger for us, and advised us that it's a good idea to leave something in your spot if you need to leave it because they tell people who arrive after hours that they can take any unoccupied space. Oh, well, shoot, if we had known that we could have saved a lot of money. Silly us making and paying for reservations!

By the time we got back to our space, the occupier had moved, and minutes later the rangers showed up. Fortunately, they weren't needed any longer, but it was good to know they were actually available. I missed my opportunity to ask them about the best time to leave baby seals alone, though.

Our last morning we motored down to park and take a walk out on the North Jetty Road. This is another view of Waikiki Beach.

It was very windy, and the low clouds were being blown quickly along the sand.

Looking back at shore from out on the jetty.

Thanks, Cape D, for a great, action-packed 3-star time. I'd give you 4 stars, but you'll need to fix that reservation thing, and there's also the matter of the missing baby seals.