Astoria, Oregon

Oct 08, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


We woke up in Astoria and docked at pier 1 an hour after passing by Pillar Rock at 5:30 A.M. This is the famous campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of November 7, 1805 and the inspiration for Captain Clarks’ joyous words, “Ocian in view! O! The joy!”

After breakfast – hearty or light, depending upon your desires – we departed for a day of excursions shared between the Columbia River Maritime Museum near downtown Astoria or the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center resting high on the bluffs and overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Cape Disappointment.

The museum showcases the Columbia River and its dangerous opening to the Pacific Ocean, for good reason known as the most dangerous river bar in the world. Displays show the early discovery and mapping of this area, and then proceed to illustrate the various industries and activities that have evolved to make the river what it is today, a very busy import-export area for the various goods coming to or from the rest of the world.

The interpretive center at Cape Disappointment is in a glorious setting within sight of Disappointment’s lighthouse, where we were provided with some seasonal blustery weather that made us appreciate the view we had from the glassed-in viewing area. A detailed and well-illustrated timeline of the expedition from start to finish was also provided with many hands-on exhibit items. Personal and family items from Sgt. Patrick Gass – including some that were actually on the 1803-1806 expedition – were also on display.

We also include a walk on nearby Waikiki Beach, the location of many dramatic photos of the lighthouse and the surrounding bluffs. This included a walk on the Confluence Project Boardwalk, a portion of the installation by artist Maya Lin. Other guests were thrilled with their visit to Fort Clatsop, the site of the Expediton 1805-1806 winter quarters. The evening was completed with a showing of slide shows of photos taken by guests and also other staff photographers.

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About the Author

Robert Heacock

Historian

Robert is a native of eastern Washington and an avid outdoorsman who enjoys exploring and sharing the splendor of the Pacific Northwest with others, whether it is by foot, auto, or boat. His work career was in agribusiness, insurance claims/Special Investigations, and project management. A graduate of Washington State University, Robert is also familiar with the region’s vast agriculture production and exporting. 

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