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Location Location Anecdote Anecdote
The Long Beach peninsula has become a major summer cottage and beach destination for Portland and Seattle but offers much more. In late winter, Pacific storms pound cliffs below lighthouses or roll into endless sandy beaches; primeval forest regenerates after logging and lichens encrust leafless deciduous trees. Oyster farms build mountains of shells and once vibrant villages adapt their economies to tourism.
Breakwaters at the mouth of the Columbia provide some protection, but waves still pound relentlessly against the bluffs below the Cape Disappointment Light. Pacific rollers break along the beach south of the North Head Lighthouse. The peninsula boasts the longest sandy beach in the US at 45km/28miles. Like many extensive sandy beaches, they prove irresistible to drivers. Fortunately each tide clears the beach of tracks. Mountains of oyster shells, farmed in the nearby sheltered waters of Willapa Bay, grow around  the town of Nahcotta (named for a local first nation chief). A scavenger he may be but this juvenile Herring Gull is grace epitomized as it floats on the wind. Lichens encrust the bare winter branches of Alder along the road from camp to Ilwaco. Descendants of the primal temperate rain forest are beginning to emulate their past glory in Ledbetter Point State Park on the northern peninsula. The narrow gauge Ilwaco Rail and Navigation Co. and the Ilwaco Mill and Lumber company are gone, but a small fishing fleet remains and the city of around 1000 is adapting to tourism as an economic engine. Ilwaco Landing with the Ilwaco fishing fleet beyond.
The Long Beach peninsula has become a major summer cottage and beach destination for Portland and Seattle but offers much more. In late winter, Pacific storms pound cliffs below lighthouses or roll into endless sandy beaches; primeval forest regenerates after logging and lichens encrust leafless deciduous trees. Oyster farms build mountains of shells and once vibrant villages adapt their economies to tourism.
Breakwaters at the mouth of the Columbia provide some protection, but waves still pound relentlessly against the bluffs below the Cape Disappointment Light. Pacific rollers break along the beach south of the North Head Lighthouse. The peninsula boasts the longest sandy beach in the US at 45km/28miles. Like many extensive sandy beaches, they prove irresistible to drivers. Fortunately each tide clears the beach of tracks. Mountains of oyster shells, farmed in the nearby sheltered waters of Willapa Bay, grow around  the town of Nahcotta (named for a local first nation chief). A scavenger he may be but this juvenile Herring Gull is grace epitomized as it floats on the wind. The North Head light from the beach in front of our camp site at Cape Disappointment State Park. Lichens encrust the bare winter branches of Alder along the road from camp to Ilwaco. Descendants of the primal temperate rain forest are beginning to emulate their past glory in Ledbetter Point State Park on the northern peninsula. The narrow gauge Ilwaco Rail and Navigation Co. and the Ilwaco Mill and Lumber company are gone, but a small fishing fleet remains and the city of around 1000 is adapting to tourism as an economic engine. Ilwaco Landing with the Ilwaco fishing fleet beyond.
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