Wednesday, July 25, 2001

July 25: Fort Clatsop, near Astoria

Today I went to have a look at Fort Clatsop, a 1955 replica of the original fort built by the Lewis and Clark expedition to when they stayed here during the winter of 1805-1806. (Since I took these photos, the original model burned down in 2005. I'll have to go back and take photos of the new one.) It's run by the U.S. National Park Service, and this is the headquarters, gift shop, and display building by the parking lot. The whole is hidden away in the forest, not that far from town, but so isolated you feel you are miles from civilization. It's a nice place to go!

This is the path coming out of the headquarters. You take a very short walk from there to the fort replica.

Here is the fort - hard to photograph with so many shadows, but it was wonderful to be in such a wooded location. I was still just beginning to experience the various plants and trees here in Oregon, and I was in awe at all of the new things I was discovering. Really? All these things grow here? A northern rainforest was still somewhat of a new concept for me.

The staff had gone out of their way to make realistic displays. This is sitting in the forest where you can walk around it and look at all the detail. Sometimes they give talks and demonstrations.

Here's the main fort building. It's not very big. The only forts I'd seen were big and meant for a lot more people.

Here's a candle-making display in one of the dark rooms. It was not well-lit, because they were trying to keep it as authentic as possible. It even smelled of furs.

Here's a sleeping room.

Maps on a desk and fire in the hearth.

This is a lantern. It's made of metal with holes bored into it in patterns. I really loved the look of this.


After leaving the fort buildings, I took the path through the woods. Ferns found in conjunction with pine trees were still a new phenomenon for me. I love this vegetation and the cool feel beneath the trees.

I also like the signs describing at least some of the plants. This is a deer fern. The quote is from Captain Lewis's journal.


Here's the wide gravel path and the bench, not quite wild, but it made for easy walking.

The forest path led toward a natural cove in the river, and there's a canoe replica here to show us how the area was used. Having grown up in California, I was astonished that these displays could be unattended and available to the public without being graffiti'd or carved to bits. People seem to behave themselves better here, and the crowds are clearly not as great, even during summer tourist season. It made me feel happy to live here.

Near the canoe I've come to the end of the trail, a deck where you can look out over the marshy inlet where Lewis and Clark apparently came ashore.

Here's a view of the inlet and cove from the platform. It was totally peaceful, totally idyllic, and - amazingly - only about 10 minutes from home. This is the Lewis and Clark River, which feeds into Youngs Bay just about where the bay opens out into the Columbia River. Here's a map.

Here's another dugout canoe, in the shade.

Gnarled tree roots.

And more ferns and broadleaf plants under the canopy of the trees. It was a beautiful place to get out and enjoy being in the woods.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

These are superb shots, Sheryl! What great fun! When we get to Astoria, we'll definitely visit...

As you noted, what is so nice is that visitors can get up close and really see what it was like to have lived here a couple hundred years ago.

(I used to think a 100 years was a long time; now it doesn't seem long at all!)

The forest is magnificent. I can almost smell it.

All of this puts meat on the bones of the L & C expedition for me.

Thank you for this link!