This week, we had visitors from Bend, two of our best friends who migrated from Portland to Central Oregon about the same time we migrated to Long Beach, Washington. Innkeeping at Boreas Inn is tough work, consuming days, then weeks, then months, even in the winter time when we have fewer guests. We fall into the habit of not taking any time off to enjoy adventures within 15 minutes of Boreas Inn. So we decided that we would all be tourists and go hiking around our area and at the same time, stay close to home.
We chose the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge for our Sunday adventure. The WNWF consists of a number of “units” both on the Long Beach Peninsula itself, including Leadbetter Point on the northern tip of land to Long Island in the Willapa Bay and across the Bay to the Refuge Headquarters on Highway 101 northbound, across from the boat ramp. We drive by the headquarters frequently on the way to South Bend or Seattle. But we seldom stop except to use the restrooms. Shame on us! This was a day, indeed, to fall in love again with the Long Beach Peninsula, staying within 15 minutes of home.
We decided to do some hiking at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge headquarters, home to the Willapa Art Trail and the Cutthroat Climb (a 1.5 mile round trip loop of moderate difficulty), our chosen adventures on Sunday, the 21st of February. The Art Walk has depictions of wildlife habitat and creatures you might find in the refuge teaching visitors about the stream and forest lands they will experience. Students from the University of Washington Public Arts Program designed, constructed, and installed the artwork for the Art Trail under the direction of their professors.
The Cutthroat Climb is moderate in difficulty with steps that were a little muddy and slick, but not hazardous to climb. It tooks us an hour. The ecosystems on this walk are diverse with wetlands, streams, forest with amphibians (newts and frogs) and lots of birds. Kathy is a forester and is a good hiking companion because she knows habitat, trees and is also brilliant about identifying birds. The forest was rich in tweeting; using the original definition of “tweet”. The music was beautiful. Kathy’s great grandfather as well as two of her great uncles were loggers and many years ago, this part of the Refuge was part of their logging territory. So it is entirely possible we were walking where her elders had logged timber. There are lots of enormous stumps with “springboard notches” chopped into the trees to support boards for loggers to stand on to saw the trees. Perhaps her Great Grandpa used these very notches to carve down the enormous trees. Giant hemlock and Sitka spruce still prevail. There is no admission charge to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.
Having explored the Refuge, we opted for a trip on Monday, the 22nd to our favorite place, Cape Disappointment State Park. We always love Waikiki Beach in all types of weather and Monday was no exception.
It was warm and sunny and the waves were nice and big. The logs that had been tossed around by the storms in late December and early January were deposited in places far from their usual landing spots all around the Waikiki Beach and park area. We had to see it to believe what we had seen in pictures. We hiked to the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse form the parking lot of the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which was closed. My favorite pic of the day is of Dead Man’s Cove on that hike.
The seawater was sparkling brilliantly in the sunshine and we had a feeling that we were all alone in the woods with this view all to ourselves. Which was the truth. We relaxed awhile at the Lighthouse, talked a bit to the Coasties who were manning the Cape D Lighthouse, and headed back to the car. To utilize Cape Disappointment State Park, you must have purchased a daily or annual Discover Pass.
The rest of our Monday adventure, we must admit, was 30 minutes from home. Hungry for a beer and munchies, we crossed the bridge to Astoria and hit the Fort George Brewery for a late lunch. Fort George just had their Dark Arts Celebration, Kathy had the Coffee Girl brew that was very dark, a bit sweet, very creamy and full of coffee and chocolate. It was delicious. I started to dream of cooking cakes with Coffee Girl and plan to incorporate “dark arts” into Boreas Inn’s menu. Larry had a Nut Red Ale, Bill his Vortex IPA and I had an IPA also, citrusy and floral; I forget which one. The Jambalaya and fresh albacore tuna melt hit the spot for us. A bit tired from our expedition, we returned home.
On Tuesday, we took a quick hike to Bell’s View at the North Head Lighthouse
and then up to the McKenzie Head from the camping area at Cape D State Park. Once again in search of libation and food, longing for Serious Pizza, which is not open yet at the Park, we drove to Pickled Fish at the Adrift Hotel and ate wood-fired pizza and I had my favorite drink, the Burro, a Moscow Mule made with tequila. Ohhh delicious. Having played tourist for a few hours each day, we felt as though we had fallen in love with the Long Beach Peninsula. All over again. And almost all of our adventures were indeed within 15 minutes of Boreas Inn. We are happy to help you plan your itinerary when you visit Boreas Inn! We loved having Kathy and Larry Katz from Bend, Oregon, provide the reason to get away, even for a quickie adventure or three. We live in paradise; there is no question about that!