Camping in Torrential Rains

Deon Matzen

© Copyright 2021 by Deon Matzen

Photo of cranberries.
                                        Photo property of the author...

We couldnít have expected much other than torrential rains visiting this time of year. It is late October. Not much happens on the Long Beach Peninsula in October. It is Thursday and the hot deal tonight is prime rib at the Lost Roo.

Over the years of coming here annually, we have visited most of the interesting sites to see in this area. We are constantly in search of new places to visit. For twenty-nine years we came to the International Kite Festival in August. When we moved to China, we established a sister city relationship between Chinaís famous kite city of Weifang and the United States national kite museum here in Long Beach, Washington. I have even been the artist who created the International Kite Festivalís annual poster.

The museum is not open except on the weekends during this time of the year and we will take our photos and some memorabilia that we have just unearthed to them, having given them most of our collection a few years ago.

There is an area near Long Beach and before you arrive in the village of Chinook where Lewis and Clark greeted the Pacific Ocean after their horrendous trip across America. They spent some time there and we have visited the interpretive center commemorating this event which is located near the Cape Disappointment Light and the state park by the same name. and

Lewis and Clark and their entourage didnít stay long, but crossed the Columbia and camped near what is now Ft. Clapsop outside of Warrentown, Oregon. They spent the winter and it must have been a pretty terrible winter with the wind and rain that beat on this portion of the coast, some of which we have experienced on the last twenty-four hours. Their purpose for spending the winter was to resupply themselves with salt. Salt is a necessity of life and they were out. The winter was spent boiling saltwater and scraping up the residue for the return trip to the eastern United States. I cannot imagine how it was possible in all this rain to dry salt enough to keep.

Hudsonís Bay Company established a fort in Astoria in later years. It also was an enclave of the Finnish people and the Wobblies(International Workers of the World). A fictionalization of this era and a great read is Deep River: A Novel by Karl Marlantes. A former student of mine has a grandfather who is buried in Astoria who was part of this history. Many of these Finns came to the region where we are camping and you still see many Finnish names on mailboxes and businesses here.

Today we visited Knappton. This is a region on the Columbia River where tall ships were built in the 1800s, though there is little there to recall this activity. The spruce trees in the neighboring forests were popular for masts on ships. To view the history of this area go to where you will learn about this area.

Our destination in the pouring down rain today was to see the Columbia River Quarantine Station. It was closed, but they had thoughtfully placed some interpretive materials at the gate for us to read. I then came back and found more information on the internet. Not sure when they are open as it is the second time we have tried to visit it. Folks coming in on ships were checked out for their suitability to live here, no disease, mental illness, previous crimes etc. They were held in this facility until these issues were cleared.

If you go to this site, you will find many folks wearing facemasks. Familiar? Not too different than today. Check it out.

Well as the day progressed, I purchased fresh cranberries to take back home. The harvest will be continuing for a while yet. Great bogs are flooded with water and the berries bushes which are very low (6-8Ē high) are combed (today with machines but in the past by hand) to loosen the berries. When the field is flooded, the berries float to the surface. The floating berries are scooted to one end of the bog, which is now knee deep in water, where they are sucked up by large vacuuming machines and loaded into trucks to be washed again and packed for our holiday treats. If you visit The Peninsula, visit the Cranberry Museum and learn all about it.

We partook of the prime rib at the Lost Roo and are now ready to fall asleep, well satiated. Tomorrow we leave the area, much too soon. I am hoping we will return in the spring or summer and maybe visit old sites of interest or discover new ones. We will see.

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