Oregon Chapter of the
Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation
Report on the Field Trip to Clark's Point of View
Field Trip to Clark's Point of View, Ecola State Park, OR -
Led by author and Oregon Chapter member Glen Kirkpatrick, a group of 25 people,
including reporters from the Oregonian, the Daily Astorian and the Seaside
Signal, met in the Indian Beach parking lot at Ecola Beach at 10:00 am on
Saturday June 12 to go in search of Clark's Point of View. As described in
Glen's article "The Rediscovery of Clark's Point of View" (We Proceeded On,
February 1999), he believes the only point on Tillamook Head that fits the
descriptions noted by Captain William Clark is a jutting point of rock in
the area known as Bird Point.
The group assembles at Indian Beach.
In January of 1806, Captain Clark and a small party, including Sacagawea and
her son Pomp, were enroute southward in search of a whale, which the local
natives told them, had washed ashore. The blubber and oil the whale could
provide was the main incentive for this rag-tag party to leave their cozy
winter quarters at Fort Clatsop and brave the elements and the miles of rough
brushy terrain which separated them from this gastronomical treat.
Glen Kirkpatrick giving his introductory talk.
The Indian Beach parking lot where we gathered our party on this warm, clear
June morning sits between the mouths of Indian Creek and Canyon Creek. As
marked on Clark's maps and noted in his journal entry for January 8, 1806,
this spot was the site of "the remains of an old Kil a mox Town." That
this site was once occupied was apparent from the shell midden eroding out of
the cliff just below the parking lot. After a welcome from Oregon Chapter
President Keith Hay and an introductory talk by Glen Kirkpatrick, the group
headed upward and northward onto Tillamook Head. Our walk along the rocky
and occasionally muddy road that led us upward was easy compared to the ordeal
experienced by our historic counterparts, and was all the more pleasant due to
lively conversations and numerous elk and deer tracks. The road ended at the
edge of a sheer 800-foot cliff overlooking a rocky beach far below. From this
vantagepoint we could see, jutting up high among the massive trees, the rocky
ridge where Glen believes William Clark stood on January 8, 1806.
Taking a rest stop.
After a quick lunch among the trees at the cliff's edge, about half of the
group decided to bushwhack over to Clark's Point of View. We scrambled down
a steep hillside through salal and thick sword ferns, five feet in height, over
mammoth downed trees, and then up the narrow ridge that leads to the final 50
foot jutting rock. For safety's sake, and because the ridge was so narrow and
surrounded by sheer drops on all sides, the group took turns one by one in
donning a safety harness that was strapped to a nearby tree. The danger and
wait were well worth our efforts, as top of the rocky ridge provides an
incomparable view of the Oregon Coast, one that inspired Clark to write:
"from this point I beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospects which my
eyes ever surveyed, in my frount a boundless Ocean; to the N. and N.E. the
coast as as far as my sight Could be extended, the Seas rageing with emence
wave and brakeing with great force from the rocks of Cape Disapointment as
far as I could See to the N.W. The Clatsops Chinnooks and other villagers
on each Side of the Columbia river and in the Praries below me, the
meanderings of 3 handsom Streams heading in Small lakes at the foot the
high country; The Columbia River for a Some distance up, with its Bays and
Small rivers and on the other Side I have a view of the Coast for an emence
distance to the S.E. by S. the nitches and points of high land which forms
this Corse for a long ways aded to the inoumerable rocks of an emence Sise
out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with
great force give this Coast a most romantic appearance."
The view to the south.
After giving everyone a moment to take in the view and preserve it in
photographs, the group hiked down and then back up to the road through the
thick brush. At the junction of the road with the trail, the group splintered
into three groups. One group returned to the parking lot via the road, one
group returned to the parking lot via the trail and the third group continued
northward on the trail to visit another viewpoint. Later, some members met
for dinner and further conversations at a local restaurant, capping off a
superb day of history and companionship.
Photos courtesy of Mark Gosselin.
Secretary, OR LCTHF
June 15, 1999
Also read the write-up we had in the Sports section of the June 23, 1999
edition of the Oregonian. No longer available on-line.
For information on joining the National Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage
Foundation click here.
For information on joining the Oregon State Chapter