Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In My Mind It Was a Circle

Sunday morning the weather maps seemed to say the storm had moved east, and I drove off into a day of rain and rainbows and blue patches. Day 2 of going someplace new. I thought I wanted to cross the Columbia River, so headed west to Cathlamet, where there is a bridge to Puget Island, and then a ferry. At first the river didn't seem wide enough, until I realized there were almost always islands between the highway on the Washington side and the Oregon riverbank.

Columbia River, somewhere east of Cathlamet (Click for larger image.)

At Cathlamet you can turn aside and drive over a bridge that crosses maybe half of the width of the river, onto a big island; that was enough. Crossed back and headed west again. I had David Thompson on my mind, the Northwest Company cartographer who explored the entire length of the Columbia River, across the mountains from the plains north of Calgary and putting together a picture of the entire Rocky Mountain interior. By the time he was here, in 1811, the journey was all but over. As it was for Lewis and Clark, in 1805. (This is the back of the 2005 Lewis and Clark nickel:)

After Skamokawa Vista Park, the highway turns away from the river, up into the Willapa Hills.

Columbia River beach at Skamokawa Vista Park. (Click for larger image.)

On the other side of the hills, you are in Gray's River country.

Near Roslyn, on Gray's River (Click for larger image.)

In my mind the trip had become a circle, south along Hood Canal, west along the Columbia River, north up the outer coast, east through the Park to home. But the state road atlas was home in the front hallway, and I rarely stopped to look at the tiny road map, just drove and drove and drove. Given how far south I had gotten on Saturday, not a circle at all:

View Larger Map

Once I hit 101 and turned north, I knew how I wanted the day to end. Stopped for lunch in Raymond. I liked it there, boats and oyster houses and a big all-under-one-roof store called Everybody's SuperMarket: groceries, hardware, fast food, clothes, gear, everything real working folks in a remote place need to be able to carry on daily life.

Raymond, where the Willapa River flows into Willapa Bay (Click for larger image.)

Continued north through Aberdeen and Hoquiam. Complete rainbow touching down at Aberdeen. The Cowlitz River, rain coming. For thoroughness, should have stopped for some roadside rainforest views as the highway passed by the Quinault, but I was firmly focussed on having enough time to stop at a pull-out over the ocean and still be home before dark, and anyway I pretty much only took pictures when it wasn't raining. Like looking out over the Kalaloch beaches:

Ocean along Highway 101, Olympic National Park

Peeked over the edge of the parking lot at Ruby Beach. Raining again. Home before dark.


TaosJohn said...

Great photos, on all these posts. Looks like you went past the outhouse I helped build at Mosquito Creek in 1962 with the Student Conservation Corps! Saw Ansel Adams that summer, passed him on a trail...

mb said...

Far out, John, I had no idea you were once a Washington guy.