ILWACO — Guided hikes at Cape Disappointment began last week, with tours on the history and biology of the Cape.
Park ranger Stephen Wood guided about a dozen people on a leisurely, short-distance walk in the North Head area, with frequent stops along the way to go over history. He read eyewitness accounts of the destruction caused by the 1921 wind storm, one of the worst of the century. He explained the impact of the storm, which took down a Naval wireless tower. Hikers learned of the history of the government and naval presence at Cape Disappointment, including during World War II. They toured ruins, and saw aerial photographs from generations ago.
“This tour is a pretty light hike, mostly just educational,” Wood noted. “Some of the others are more strenuous.”
One such hike takes guests through the forest “In the Footsteps of Lewis and Clark,” with lessons on the famous explorers. Another forest hike emphasizes the majestic spruce trees.
A walk to Beard’s Hollow drew over 20 people to find sea life in tide pools. The tour guide, ranger Bea Harrison, taught about the life of sea anemones. Using a guidebook, she helped guests identify more obscure creatures they saw on the rocks and tide pools.
Wood said the guides have to research extensively. “I have to be able to answer any question someone might have. The Internet is a wonderful thing; you can trace primary sources and get a much clearer picture. We also rely on professional historians.” New information is always turning up. “Some of the documents (used on the tour) came to us from the National Archives, and I think they literally turned up in someone’s grandfather’s attic when they were clearing it out,” he said.
These hikes will continue throughout the summer. Listed here are upcoming State Parks events for the rest of July. A Discover Pass is required for parking. For more information, call 360-642-3029.
• July 19, 7-8:15 p.m. — “Recipe for disaster”: Meet at Benson Beach Amphitheater (not Waikiki beach amphitheater) for a short walk out to the beach. On the beach, learn the secrets behind rogue waves, king tides, rip currents, and more.
• July 20, 1 p.m.-2 p.m. — “You are Here!”: Starting at the park office, tour the area around Lake O’Niel and learn about the layers of history under your feet. Historic photos will show this area during jetty construction, CCC camps and other hidden history. 1/2 mile, easy.
• July 21, 2-3 p.m. — “Storm of the Century Pours Concrete at North Head”: Meet at the North Head parking lot. Take a historical tour of the North Head area to learn how a 1921 storm and the U.S. Navy created some of the concrete ruins we see today. Easy, 3/4 mile.
• July 21, 7-8 p.m. — “The Blue Tarp Dilemma”: Meet at the Benson Beach Amphitheater (not the Waikiki beach amphitheater). Bring insect repellent. Learn a few knots useful for tying up a blue tarp as a simple rain shelter.
• July 22, 8:30-9:30 a.m. — Meet at the Beards Hollow parking lot. “Tide Pools”: Walk down to the water’s edge and carefully explore the intertidal zone. See starfish, anemones, chitons and more. 1 mile.
• July 22, 7 p.m. — Waikiki Beach Concert “The Browsmead Flats”: Local favorites play folk and bluegrass with a local flavor: “Crabgrass!”
• July 23, 7 p.m. — Meet at the Benson Beach Amphitheater. Bring insect repellent. “Terrible Tillie”: Learn the harrowing story of the building of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.
• July 24, 9-10 a.m. — Meet at the Beards Hollow parking lot. “Tide Pools.” Walk down to the water’s edge and carefully explore the intertidal zone. See starfish, anemones, chitons and more. 1 mile.
• July 24 7-8 p.m. — Meet at the Benson Beach Amphitheater. Bring inset repellent. “Bringing Nature Home”: Learn how your yard can help support pollinators, wildlife, birds and more.
• July 25, 9:30-10:30 a.m. — “Waikiki Cave of Mystery”: Starting at the Waikiki restroom, walk to (but not in) a sea cave nearby. The cave is full of deep water. Explore the intertidal zone at Waikiki beach.