Saturday, November 03, 2007

26 October, Friday at the Beach

After a quick breakfast of pancakes that mostly stuck to the pan, and a leisurely cup of coffee, we walked out to Benson Beach (named for a ship that sank in the area) and to the right saw North Head Lighthouse sitting high on a bluff above. Roy thought there might be a trail up but I knew in my heart I wasn't going to try any trail that steep. As it turned out, there was no trail but we got some good pictures.

Speaking of pictures, the trail to the beach was lined with beautiful red mushrooms. I looked them up and they are called Amanita Muscaria or Fly Agaric and while they are poisonous, they are also hullucinogenic. Thats probably why we saw folks picking them even though there were big signs that it was a criminal offence to pick the mushrooms.

They werent the only muchroom we saw, but these didn't look as pretty.

From the beach we walked back through the closed part of the park and saw a cayote who stared at us as we stared at him.

We wanted to check out the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center and the other near by lighthouse called Cape Disappointment but it took some doing finding the trail. Once we did it was rated moderate to strenuous but only .6 miles so we took it and started the climb up. What a treat,the vistas of the beach below were beautiful and I didn't have to get close enought to make my fear of heights kick in. We scared a young deer and actually I think she scared me more than I her and we were so high in the trees that a young woodpecker pecked away at an old growth just within feet of us.
The Interpretive Center was awesome, but the $5. charge per person was a little steep. We heard an interesting talk by a docent on the maritine industry and the lighthouse

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse was built to mark the entrance to the Columbia River and even with two lighthouses, since 1792 about 2000 ships have sunk in the area. ITs not surprizing, sand and silt clog the waterways, and shift around at will. Storms with up to 25 foot swells are common winter occurrances and fog is a year round hazard. One ship we read about the first mate kept hearing this strange noise, it sounded like a rooster, but according to the Captain they were 6 miles out to see. Unfortunately, it was a rooster and they were shortly joining him on the beach.
The trail from the Interpritive Center to the Lighthouse was closed as the Coasties were having live fire practice. I had been willing to try but I was secretly pleased as I didn't think my feet would make another mile and a half and we still had a couple mile jaunt back to camp. I know we ended up walking 5 miles, 6 would be more accurate.

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