A visit to Fort Clatsop, Dismal Nitch and Astoria, Oregon on our Columbia River cruise.
The S.S. Legacy steamed its way westward, towards mouth of the Pacific Ocean, as Lewis and Clark did in 1805. As we drew closer to the coast, the weather quickly began to deteriorate. Jackets came out from their suitcases. The early autumn heatwave that we enjoyed all week segued into a chilly, mist-shrouded morning. Not enough to dampen our spirits. Only our shoes.
Dressed for the weather, we headed ashore to our motor coach and a trip across the river.
Over the river and to the woods…
Completed in 1966, the Astoria Megler Bridge is located a mere 14 miles from the mouth of the Columbia River. Spanning 4.1 miles in length, the bridge connects Astoria, Oregon and Ellice, Washington and is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.
It’s easy to understand why Captain William Clark named the dreary spot “that dismal little nitch.”
Lewis and Clark set up a temporary encampment that was later named Station Camp. It was Clark’s primary survey station where he produced a detailed and accurate map of the mouth of the Columbia River and surrounding area.
This Fort Clatsop is a replica of the last encampment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition on their westward journey during the winter of 1805-1806. It didn’t take long to walk through all of the buildings, which were rebuilt according to the original descriptions.
Lunchtime on the ship drew near so we were back on the bus without losing anyone who happened to wander off into the woods.
A walk into the Victorian city of Astoria.
So much to see and do for our last day in this amazing part of the country. I barely ate lunch so I’d have plenty of time to explore Astoria. I’d been there once before so I was familiar with the downtown area a little bit. Here are a few highlights:
Be sure to take a ride on the Astoria Riverwalk Trolley. It runs from the dock / lumber yard all the way to the Columbia River Maritime Museum at the far end of the Riverwalk. There are about a dozen stops along the way so you can use it as a hop-on hop-off ride.
Built in 1913, Old 300 as it is called is a 40-passenger trolley. The trolley travels along Astoria’s original train tracks and passes through Astoria’s historic working waterfront. You’ll definitely see and hear the anxious seals and sea lions hoping to snag a quick meal as nearby fishermen unload their daily catch.
A farewell dinner preceded a guest talent show.
Kind of goofy but everyone enjoyed it…especially the performers. Even our three cruise managers were in full Victorian garb.
Goodbyes were said, emails traded and a promise from Un-Cruise to send everyone the photo montage of our week’s journey up and back on the Columbia River. Tomorrow we’d be back in Portland and I’d be on an Amtrak train to Seattle. I’d look back on that incredible week and remember the most diverse, unexpected scenery and geology that I’ve encountered any where else in the world.
For more information, visit: Un-Cruise.com and contact your travel agent.
Follow my entire week aboard the S.S. Legacy:
Day 1: Aboard the S.S. Legacy to cruise the Columbia and Snake Rivers
Day 2: Bonneville Dam and towering Multnomah Falls
Day 3: A relaxing “sea” day on the river.
Day 4: Jet Boating through Hell’s Canyon
Day 5: Walla Walla Wineries, the Whitmans and the Oregon Trail
Day 6: Maryhill Museum, The Dalles and a real Stonehenge
Day 7: Following Lewis and Clark to Fort Clatsop and a visit to Astoria.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Un-Cruise Adventures aboard the S.S. Legacy. In no way was I under any obligation to Un-Cruise and all views and comments are my own.