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Friday, August 31, 2007

Fort Stevens 2007

Five days out at Ft Stevens for a great relaxing camping trip out to the Oregon coast near Astoria. Relaxing, running, eating, and sleeping with very limited internet access :-)

We arrived Sunday Aug 26 and set up in the dark around 9 pm. Getting better at the setup and it not was not windy like Odell lake. Campsite #270. Really not a bad site. Near some of the best which would be the outer loop of the 270s. Little traffic on the road, close to the bike trails and you do not share the back side of the campsite with a neighbor.

On Monday we slept in late and then headed for the local shipwreck, the Peter Iredale. Not much left of the ship that ran aground in 1906 but the kids love exploring what was left.

Hit the Coffinbury lake for the afternoon. Leah and Cole attempted to catch fish and frogs
After the beach and some napping in the sun I headed out for a 5 mile run with the kids keeping up on the bikes.
We found a garter snake and a large banana slug. We held the snake for a while...beautiful orange color morph. We did not pick up the slug :-) Cole was quite nervous about bears and cougars after attending a nature talk on the subject. The warning signs did not help. Once we explained that he was more likely to be hit by lightning he had no further trouble :-)

Tuesday started with Canadian corn pops (yes there is a difference) for some quick fuel and then hit the trail with the kids on the bikes and Trisha and I running.
We ran the 1.5 miles to the military fort. Cannon, guns, bombs, mines, bullets, knifes...Cole was in heaven. Cool models of the fort during WWII. We became educated on the only documented attack of the US mainland during WWII. A I-25 submarine shelled the coast near Ft Stevens apparantly attempting to lure out ships. The shots were not returned.

We then continued on our run after the history lesson to complete about 6.7 miles. The trails are in very good shape and have lots of shade and changes of scenery. Not many hills though. We believe this is the longest bike ride the kids have done. They did refuel with a pop tart after visiting the fort.
Some quiet time back at the camp for some bbq chicken sandwiches and some showers. Then we hit the ocean beach near the Peter Iredale. Much warmer and less windy today. Built a small medieval sandcastle and played in the waves.

To end the day we watched some of the first Harry Potter movie after the kids have been reading the book aloud with Trisha and family over the last few weeks.

Wednesday started a little earlier. We again headed out a for bike / run up to the Fort this morning to complete our exploring. We toured all the gun installments and up and down all the stairs. Then it was time to head back for Trisha and the kids to make some pancakes and fried eggs (Cole's new favorite) while I finished up my run. We cleaned our plates and then prepared to head back to the ocean beach for a full day. It was beautiful today with fairly weak winds on the beach. We made a fun day of it staying from around noon until 5 pm. Trisha made a snack run to the KOA to keep the sugar levels up. Trisha and Leah went to the JR ranger program whilst Cole and I played more on the beach with some soccer and watching the kite surfers. We attempted to build a Hogwarts castle but we picked a position slightly below the high tide line that played havoc with our creation. It was a night of leftovers for dinner all cooked on the fire. Some popcorn and finishing off the Harry Potter movie rounded out the night.

Thursday we woke up to a very light rain so it was good we had planned a city day in Astoria. Trisha went running with Leah and I went out with Cole. Cole and I saw a fawn and rabbit and explored the Battery Russell. After a light breakfast of fried eggs and fried weiners (time to go shopping) we headed for Astoria near noon. We hit the maritime museum for several hours with Cole and Leah running around the place looking and touching just about everything. Of course there was more guns and bombs for Cole to stare at. We also spent some time building our own little boats as a craft.

For an outside break we headed to the Astoria column. Built in 1926 this tourist attraction is basically free ($1 yearly parking pass). Leah climbed the stairs 3 times: once with Trisha, once with me and then up with me again to launch a glider plane. Cole was not excited about the height so he elected to not climb the stairs but had lots of fun chasing the crane flies and other bugs. He also enjoyed playing with the glider plane with his feet firmly planted on the ground. The view from the column is well worth the climbing of the 146 stairs. It was amazing how many people were physically unable to scale the stairs turning back after 50-60 stairs totally winded and straining hard. Ouch!
We went back to the museum and toured the floating lightship Columbia that is permanently on moored at the museum. More great exploration time for the kids. Great museum all around that is very kid friendly. Mexican food for dinner and then Trisha and I poached some internet access from the local Shilo Inn after discovering that free wifi at Starbucks is not free. When the coffee costs 4 bucks a cup, they could throw in some bit streaming for free! :-)

Friday was the day to return home. We did a return to the Battery Russell so Cole could give Leah and Trisha the full tour. I did a short run during this time and then we reconnected to bike / run home together and complete our exploring of all of the 9 miles of paved trails in the park.
Quick breakfast / lunch of leftovers, packed up the trailer and drove back to Portland.

Sad to be finished with the camping trip but excited to get back to the comforts of home: lego collection, barbie collection, personal bathroom and internet connections :-)


Calberry said...

Hello, I found your blog when searching for info on camping at Ft. Stevens. We were there on our honeymoon in '69, and want to go back this summer (in a tent trailer). I was looking for recommendations on the best sites (with or w/out other hookups needed)

If you have any comments, I can be reached by following the webmaster link on my

Check out our recent trip at

I'm a bit of an endurance athlete myself (200 mile bike rides) until I broke my neck in June. Check out the 3rd from last paragraph in this site

Thanks, and good luck on your future runs.

Steve Berry

Darin Swanson said...

Hey Steve. Had a great race just today (see blog update)!

We stayed in Campsite #270 which was not a bad site.
As I hinted in the blog we would recommend sites 271-275.
Little traffic on the road, close to the bike trails and the sites do not share the back side of the campsite with a neighbor.