Adventures in Washington: Cape Disappointment

‘Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.’-Christie Anne Martine

With the arrival of spring, I decided to hit the road and car camp for the first time. My plan was to go during my term break, celebrate a bit before the grind of the spring commenced. Turns out, this trip would be a way to get out of my head. My spring classes were canceled and I will be working even more as a server, not the original plan. But the Pacific Ocean is always there for me when I need it…always!

When planning, weather was a concern. I mean, I live in the Pacific Northwest and it rains a lot, especially in the spring. I googled the best beaches in Washington, planning on staying at one place further south and then determining, once there, whether to go north to Olympic National Park, Washington or back to Cannon Beach, Oregon. Cape Disappointment was voted the number one beach in the state!

Due to the name, I thought it was a joke but it is just poorly named. And not even ironically! An early explorer mistook where the Columbia River meets the Pacific incorrectly, believing it was merely a shallow bay or something. He named it Cape Disappointment and it stuck. Which is lame because what it is most famous for is Lewis and Clark confirming, from the tallest point in the park, that they had reached the Pacific Ocean…not disappointing at all!

I knew I was going to car camp so started by looking at my options (I will be doing a separate piece on this later as I am still working out some kinks with the incredible assistance of my dad, who has really missed his calling as a car camping guru). Cape Disappointment State Park has campsites that require a reservation year round. As it was mid-week in March, I was able to secure a spot right next to the beach. I could hear the waves crashing as I slept. It was also near the bathrooms so a major perk!

I was able to watch a cloudy sunset on the beach and hung out with a bunch of sea birds. It actually reminded me of when I was a kid, my dad, brother and I did a PCH road trip around Northern California. One afternoon, as my dad was feeding the birds, they just swarmed him. As I was the only one on the beach, I did have concerns I would become Tippi Hedren. Then it began to rain and, thankfully, they did not chase me to my car, ha!

Cape Disappointment is both a state park and part of the National Park Service’s Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (I love this trail system). The next morning, I explored a bit. You can climb to the top of the hill where Lewis and Clark made their determination and wander amongst remnants of World War II. Due to concerns of a Japanese invasion, there were outposts along the coast. Well, some of them are here and fully accessible.

Further up the road, is a lighthouse and former homes of the keepers. It provides incredible views of the coastline and the area where the Columbia River becomes the Pacific. Plus more birds…I know nothing about ornithology, and near sided to boot, so birds is what I can provide, lol. With blues skies, I decided to move north to Olympic National Park’s coastal region, which was epic, but Cape Disappointment did not disappoint and a great way to kick off my trip.

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