Saturday, September 20, 2014

Dismal Nitch

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Here are a few photos from a place called Dismal Nitch, a historical site and highway rest area on the Washington side of the Columbia River, across from Astoria OR. The name comes from the Lewis & Clark expedition; the explorers camped here on November 12-14, 1805, taking shelter from a nasty winter storm, and apparently didn't have a good time here. The site of their "dismal nitch" was only recently identified; anyone who's ever been to the Oregon-Washington coast in November knows the entire coast can be pretty dismal that time of year, so the name and description aren't great clues.

The historic campsite area lies just west of the modern highway rest area, and now belongs to the National Park Service, as one unit of the large Lewis & Clark National Historical Park. There isn't a lot there that evokes the year 1805 though; a busy state highway hugs the shoreline, and the shoreline itself is covered in riprap stone, I suppose to protect the adjacent highway. I'm not sure if there's even a trail or other access into the historic site. The NPS page says they're thinking about adding a trail someday, which suggests there isn't one now.

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