Sunday, June 8, 2008


Westport can be reached by an hour and a half, 55 mile drive. It's the last major destination I hadn't visited yet from Pacific Beach. I had my little boy, James, with me and we found lots to do:

I usually prepare my visits carefully with a map and a plan for what to see, but this trip was more spur of the moment. I drove on up into the town of Westport, expecting to see the famous lighthouse - tallest in the state, but we didn't see any sign of it. That was very puzzling. We found a tall, blue watchtower and I figured surely that we would see the lighthouse from up there. But, again, there was no sign of it. The view from the watchtower was great: down onto Westport's marina, over the harbor, and across the harbor to Ocean Shores.

Next, we went looking for a park to have our picnic. We found Westhaven State Park on the ocean. There was a whole crowd of surfers in wetsuits there, both coming and going. I counted 50 surfers out in the water at one time. However, the waves seemed to be too calm. Hardly any surfers managed to stand up on their boards. We picnicked on the 30 foot high clifftop overlooking the beach, giving a great view of the ocean, the jetty, and the busy beach (surfers and all their dogs running around).

After lunch, James played on the beach and up on the jetty. We saw a flock of pelicans fly overhead - the first I'd seen in the area. I also saw a sealion pop its head out of the water. After the jetty, James noticed the cliff again and decided this was a great place to throw rocks. On the way back to the car - I thought we were done - we came across a really steep 100 foot sand embankment leading down to a perfect crescent beach. This beach faced into the harbor. Some crazy teen girls were there rolling down the sand, so of course James wanted to do the same. He backed himself slowly down the hill and climbed back up. Then he climbed back down again because he noticed a more dangerous spot the girls were trying to climb. The girls only made it up with the help of their Dad who went down to retrieve them. I had to do the same for James.

We did finally spot the lighthouse in the distance from Westhaven. It was nearly hidden by tall trees. We drove around to the lighthouse, arriving just before closing time. The docent had climbed down, thinking he was done, but he climbed the 135 steps once again and gave us the complete tour.

The original 1898 light was lit by kerosene, which had to be refilled every two hours overnight. Every day the keeper would clean the lens and the windows. The lens mechanism floated in a bed of mercury - a great lubricant, but nobody knew at the time how dangerous it was to handle.

The lighthouse gives off a red/white pattern of light at a designated interval. Red/white means a safe harbor is nearby. The color plus the timing of the light could be compared to navigation charts to help boats identify the lighthouse.

Next, we drove down to Grayland and stopped at Grayland State Park - another sandy beach on the ocean. There were lots of cars on this beach, including an RV with lawn furniture set out and a kite flying. James fell over on the beach and was caught by wave, getting wet and sandy, so that was the end of our day. We drove the 1 1/2 back to Pacific Beach and stopped for shakes at the Humdinger in Hoquiam.

Check out the pictures of this trip at my website:

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