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Tuesday June 28- Ecola State Park, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Cannon Beach, Youngs Falls

I had completed another article last evening (# 3), so I emailed that off. I started on the last one this morning. At 10, we drove south towards Cannon Beach. Our first stop was at Ecola State Park. The state parks cost $5 each, but we lucked out and the electricity was out, so the machine did not work. There was a note on the machine telling us to enter for free!

The drive into the park was beautiful, through dense, old forest on a winding road. After the entrance booth, there was a large parking lot. We could see a lookout, but we were looking for the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse. This is the last ocean lighthouse in Oregon. This is the view of Cannon Beach from the head.

 We walked down the path, past the lookout and up a hill to see the lighthouse. It is placed, 1.2 miles seaward, off Tillamook Head, south of Seaside, north of Cannon Beach.

It stands 133 feet above sea level with a 62 ft tower on basalt rock islet. The original Fresnel light was a first order, but destroyed in a storm, and it was never replaced. Exposure to storm waves earned it the nickname “Terrible Tilly”. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1881 to help guide ships entering the Columbia River. It was replaced by a whistle buoy in 1957. This is the only privately owned lighthouse on the Oregon coast; it is also on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse is a columbarium, a storage place for ashes of the deceased. Or maybe not! The owners lost their license and are trying to raise money to add titanium to put the ashes in. Someone asked one of the owners about whether the lighthouse could withstand a tsunami, and her answer was that “ if you want to be there, your second choice must be to be buried at sea!” There is a fascinating story behind this lighthouse, available at: http://www.lighthousefriends.com/light.asp?ID=135.

Ecola received its name from William Clark. “in December 1805, two members of the expedition had returned to camp with blubber from a whale that had beached several miles south, near the mouth of what is now known as Ecola Creek. Knowing that the expedition needed some variety in their monotonous winter diet, Clark decided to journey south from Fort Clatsop over Tillamook Head which he described in his journal as “the Steepest worst and highest mountain I ever assended [sic]…”.[4] From a place near the western cliffs of the headland he saw “…the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my eyes ever surveyed, in front of a boundless Ocean…” That viewpoint is now called Clark’s Point of View and can be accessed by a hiking trail from Indian Beach in Ecola State Beach.” From Wikipedia!

We stopped at the camp host’s RV to check on getting our Lighthouse Passport stamped, but the gal there did not have a clue about a stamp. She sent us to the Visitor Center in Cannon Beach. The gals at the Visitor Center said that the stamp is at the Heritage Museum, but the museum is closed on Tuesdays! So we will have to go back… Cannon Beach received its name in 1846 when a cannon from the wrecked US Navy  schooner, Shark , that washed ashore and was found by a local on the beach. The cannon is in the Heritage Museum in Cannon Beach.

We drove south, through the cute little town. Their claim to fame is their ‘Haystack Rock”.

We drove out to the beach, and there was a Mo’s there. So we stopped in for lunch. Bob had seafood sliders, one shrimp, one crab, one tuna. I had the shrimp melt. Both were very good, with a small side salad with shrimp.

We drove back north and stopped in Seaside at Lewis and Clark Salt Works. Lewis and Clark wintered at Ft. Clatsop, 16 miles north. They were in desperate need of salt, as they needed the salt to ‘cure’ their meat for the trip back to civilization.  Four of the men were send south to “make salt” in what is now Seaside. So they traveled to this spot, to prepare salt.

To do this, they had to retrieve the salt water, boil it for days,  evaporate the water, and then pull out the salt. They were able to do this, walking back to Ft. Clatsop carrying all that salt. The reason that they had to go to this area to ‘make the salt’, was that the flow from the Columbia River is so strong, and there is so much fresh water, that it dilutes the ocean water. They need ocean water with a high salt content to boil down to make the salt they needed.

The salt works was right next to the ‘prom’. Here is a picture of the southern end of the ‘prom’. 

We stopped at Safeway and grocery shopped, then returned to the motor home to pick up the dogs. We drove northeast to the Youngs River Falls.

Lewis and Clark discovered this falls on one of their trips around this area. The fall is 65ft. It is a popular swimming hole, and as private as it is, we are betting it is the local skinny dipping spot. Too cold today!

We drove through the town of Warrenton, while we did, the sun came out, but it went back in pretty quickly., and the wind picked up!

After dinner, Mary Jo invited us to a happy hour, so we trotted over to their 5th wheel. There were only 6 of us there. It started to rain, so the other couple left, but we stayed and spent time talking about our plans. Mary Jo and Milo her husband are from Portland and told us that some of our plans would not work. The distances were farther than we had anticipated. So we made some reservation changes when we returned to the motor home.

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