Thursday, October 9, 2014

The End of the Road: Lewis and Clark, and Cannon Beach

Since we ended up spending unexpected time in the morning at Mount Rainier to make use of the sunlight, my plans for a day along the northern beaches of Oregon was shorted. So we hit what I considered the highlights for our family.

First, the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The boys were pumped to get more Junior Ranger badges, and they both have a fascination with Lewis and Clark.

We had seen a bit of Lewis and Clark's journey last summer at Harper's Ferry, in West Virginia. That was at the start of their journey. In Oregon, we visited the ending part of their 2.5 year voyage across America, in Fort Clatsop.

They have a fascinating museum at the Visitor's Center, and a great movie to watch. Outside, their are replicas of the forts they built and lived in to wait out the winter before heading back east.

We took a picture of Alex with the Sacajawea statute, to go with his one of he and Pocahontas in Jamestown. 

And then we drove to Cannon Beach, to see its famous Haystack Rock.

My original itinerary had us spending several days in this area. Our final cut had us spending a day here, and then we ended up cutting it down to only a few hours to make room for sunny Mount Rainier. The right choice to make, but I'm glad we didn't cut it entirely.

It was a fantastic place to get out and stretch our legs after driving for a few hours.

To just run around and feel the sand and water under our toes.

Haystack Rock in particular is famous, and is seen in several movies, like Goonies, 1941, and Kindergarten Cop. It was lovely, but I'm not sure the ones we saw along the southern coast of Oregon weren't equally spectacular.

Hyatsack Rock is also home to some well-known tide pools.

The boys had never really seen any tide pools before, so this was a cool experience.

I had heard that the pools were home to lots of star fish. We didn't see any starfish, and the marine ranger I spoke with said that the starfish are significantly reduced this year, up and down the Pacific coast, and no one knows why. This made me sad, wondering what we were doing to our environment to hurt the starfish.

The ranger encouraged us to touch these little anemones, but only when they were completely submerged in water. The boys loved doing this!

As you can see, the beach was still pretty empty, other than these beach cyclers, and a few other folks at the tidepools. (Again, why are Oregon beaches populated by so few people? I don't get it.)

But that was A-OK with us to have the time to just be alone in this beautiful place.

Our most significant time at Cannon Beach, however, involved this baby seagull. He seemed a little lost, and Alex promptly fell in love with him.

You can see the two of them bonding together in the water here.

Alex spent close to 30 minutes walking around with the bird, and at one point, he decided to go into the water. I wasn't sure if this was a good thing or not, but I had Alex leave him alone and let him be.

Sadly, a big grown-up seagull started hovering above him in the water. It looked like he was hurting the baby, but we couldn't tell if he was deliberately hurting him, or trying to help him. When the baby finally came back to land, he was all bloodied, and looked really bad. We got one of the beach rangers from the tidepools to come over, and he explained to us that seagulls are very territorial. And that they are known to attack and eat their young. This news saddened us to no end, but we were really glad that the ranger was able to go get some blankets and a crate and he was going to take him to a marine life rehabilitation center, where, hopefully the baby would get better and be able to come back home to Cannon Beach as an adult. The ranger was clever enough to not emphasize the "hopefully" part of his story so as far as my kids are concerned, we saved a baby seagull that day.

More about this Trip:

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