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September 06, 2005

Fort Clatsop

Our oldest son is into Lewis and Clark, so last weekend I went camping in Astoria with him and our six-year-old, and we checked out some of the L&C sites around the area. The whole story of their expedition is really amazing; the more you learn about it, the more astonishing it becomes.

The main attraction is Fort Clatsop which is a recreation of where the Corps of Discovery spent the winter of 1805-1806. They had people in period costume talking about medicine of the era, how to fire a flintlock musket, etc. Across the Columbia in Washington is Cape Disappointment State Park which features the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, an extremely well-done exhibit about the expedition. There's also something going on called the Confluence Project, involving Maya Lin.

The sites are now known as "Lewis and Clark National And State Historical Park", but that's new; Cape Disappointment State Park used to be Fort Canby State Park, and Fort Clatsop was a National Memorial Park. The website keeps talking about "America's newest National Park" but if you are a National Park geek, you know that there are many sites that the Park Service administers which are not full-blown National Parks. You've got your National Preserves, National Historic Sites, National Recreation Areas, etc. So I don't know if you should parse the name as "Lewis and Clark National and (State Historical) Park" or "Lewis and Clark (National and State) Historical Park". But I think it is the latter, so it's actually a National Historical Park, not a National Park. Got that? Actually this page confirms that.

If you're counting just bird National Parks, I've been to Arches, Badlands, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Denali, Everglades, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Haleakala, Hawaii Volcanoes, Mount Rainier, Olympic, and Zion. Still some work to do.

We stayed at the Astoria KOA campground. We were in a tent, mostly surrounded by people in giant RVs. It was a bit daunting to be sitting there, literally roasting hot dogs on sticks over a campfire, watching people cooking on giant propane stoves under pop-up gazebos, with tubs full of food and a ring of tiki torches around the campsite (honest).

On the way home we eschewed the Astoria-Megler bridge (which we had already crossed twice) and the Lewis and Clark Bridge (which we had taken on the way down) and instead took this little 12-car ferry from Westport to Puget Island, and thence across a bridge to the Washington mainland. The ferry takes about 10 minutes and the kids really liked it. However I think it only runs once an hour.

Posted by AdamBa at September 6, 2005 09:12 PM

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