It was a bit hazy early yesterday evening when I drove the few miles to Fort Stevens and out to South Jetty to get a photo of the mouth of the great Columbia River. And I got lucky. Do you see the small gray bump in the center of the horizon? That's a big ship coming in from the ocean. It's best to click on the image to enlarge it for a more impressive view. I took this photo from the viewing platform on the jetty. The ocean is on the left, and the river is on the right. The end of South Jetty and North Jetty are so far apart, I couldn't capture them both in the same picture from here, but you'll get an overall view tomorrow, when I intend to post an aerial photo by Frank Wolfe that shows the river pouring into the ocean. In fact, South Jetty angles to the left, and the end of it is just outside the frame of this photo. On the north side, the jetty also ends just outside the frame of the picture. I could easily fill a week's posts with different ways to look at this spot.
Before the jetties were built, ships sometimes waited as long as two or three weeks for conditions to be safe enough to attempt to enter the Columbia River. The jetty in this photo is made of huge rocks, but if you look at the left edge of the silhouette, you'll also see the remains of wooden boards. This is part of the ruined railroad trestle that ran several miles, bringing rocks of up to 50 tons for construction of the jetty. (Much of the trestle still exists, and would make a good photo for another day.) When it was finished, the jetty was five miles long, but it was extended another two miles - a task begun in 1903 and finished ten years later. According to the interpretive plaque supplied by the State Park system, the two jetties were built between 1885 and 1895 "to keep the mouth of the Columbia river from moving around, to narrow the current to help flush out river sediment, and to keep beach sand from clogging the river mouth . . . . Generally, waves and wind push Oregon Coast beach sand south in the summer and north in the winter - sometimes driving sand into shipping channels."
Locals and tourists enjoy coming out for an interesting view, to watch the sunset here and to see big waves during storms. Occasionally the storms are so strong that advisories will warn us to stay away from the jetty and viewing platform.
For scenic photos from around the world, drop in for a visit to Scenic Sunday.