"Fort Clatsop--Like Lewis and Clark our recap of their journey ended here"

We wrote extensively about the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery of 1806 when the bicentennial celebration took place earlier in this decade. Our stories in Vittles, still to be found on our web page, followed the explorers as they camped at Three Forks in Montana after moving up the Missouri River. We were again on their trail as they toiled over the Bittteroot Mountains following the Clearwater River, then the Snake river and finally to the mighty Columbia.

At last this final link in their saga was completed by this Writer when as part of a tour and learning experience about Astoria we visited the Fort Clatsop National and State Historic Parks. Administrated by the National Park Service the Fort has been recreated as original as possible thanks to extensive descriptions made in the journals of the expedition. We were met by Park Ranger Glenda Miller who escorted us through the log buildings to see the quarters of the men, the offices and rooms of Lewis and Clark as well as the private cabin for Sacagawea, her child and husband. Of course nothing is left of the original Fort after two hundred years but artifacts have identified the site. We took the trail to the water source for the camp and then the trail to the nearby Lewis & Clark River where the canoes of the party were kept at Netul Landing.

We also visited the Lewis and Clark Salt Works located at Seaside, Oregon. This site is now in the midst of a residential section of town but is still administrated by the Park Service. Here we met "Molly Sullivan", a Park Service volunteer who gives a first person reenactment of how Captains Lewis and Clark ordered five men to the site with the express purpose of extracting salt from the ocean water. Using three kettles the men boiled seawater to obtain the salt.

The site, with just a stack of fire blackened rocks for identification,was found by a Clatsop Indian woman named Jenny Michele who recalled her mother telling of white men boiling seawater.

Salt was essential to the explorers to preserve meat for its return journey to be undertaken in the spring. In Seaside there is also a sculpture of Captains Lewis and Clark marking the end of their journey across the continent.

While at the salt works Clark heard of a beached Grey whale and determined to find it for a much needed source of oil. This took him, accompanied by Sacagawea and her infant child, further south to what is now Ecola State Park just north of Cannon Beach. And here too we followed. Ecola is the Indian word for whale.. Ecola is a day use Park offering fine vistas for photography as well as access to long beaches. It is also a very popular site for weddings. The park also has two well known surfing beaches, Indian and Short Sand.

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Last Update:3/15/10

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