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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"McKenzie Head, Cape Disappointment, Washington"
Includes ... McKenzie Head ... Clark's Campsite of November 18, 1805 ... Battery 247 ...
Image, 2005, McKenzie Head from North Jetty, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
McKenzie Head from North Jetty. View from road following North Jetty, Cape Disappointment State Park. Image taken April 19, 2005.


McKenzie Head ...
McKenzie Head is a rounded hill or knob which borders the Pacific Ocean between Cape Disappointment and North Head, with the North Jetty, Waikiki Beach, Benson Beach, and Deadmans Hollow being nearby. Captain Clark camped on the north side of McKenzie Head on November 18, 1805.

Clark's Campsite of November 18, 1805 ...
While Captain Lewis was on his way to the Pacific, Captain Clark and the rest of the men packed up their gear and left their Megler camp on November 15, 1805, and setup camp at what would be known as "Station Camp". Captain Lewis arrived at Station Camp on November 17th. On November 18, 1805, Captain Clark and eleven men left Station Camp for their turn to view the Pacific Ocean. They reached the Pacific at McKenzie Head, where they setup their camp. According to Moulton [vol.6], their camp was near McKenzie Head in the vicinity of the Fishing Rocks archaeological site, where archaeological work encountered evidence that Chinook Indians used the site as a hunting and fishing camp beginning around 1,000 years ago and continuing into early historic time. The campsite appears on the route map [Moulton, vol.1, map#91], to the right of McKenzie Head.

"... passed from last nitch across to the ocean ˝ a mile low land the Cape is a high Partly bald hill, founded on rock, I assended a high Seperate bald hill Covered with long corse grass & Seperated from the hight of Country by a Slashey bottom 2 miles S. 60 W of the Cape— thence to a 2d Grassey pt is N. 50° W. 2 miles, Those hills are founded on rocks & the waves brake with great fury against them, the Coast is Sholey for Several miles of this Cape & for Some distance off to the N W a Sand bar in the mouth. Sholey Some distance out from the mouth The Coast from the Cape N W is open for a Short distance back then it becomes thick piney Countrey intersperced with ponds. Point addams is <S. W> S 20° W about 20 miles the Course on that Side bears S 45 W. I cannot assertain the prosise Course of the Deep water in the mouth of the river, the Channel is but narrow. I proceeded on up above the 2d point and Encamped on the Shore above the high tide ..." [Clark, November 18, 1805, first draft]

"... I crossed the neck of Land low and 1/2 of a mile wide to the main Ocian, at the foot of a high open hill projecting into the ocian, and about one mile in Sicumfrance. I assended this hill which is covered with high corse grass, decended to the N. of it and camped. ... " [Clark, November 18, 1805]

"... went over a bald hill where we had a handsom view of the ocean.     we went on a Short distance on the coast and Camped for the night. [Ordway, November 18, 1805]

The next day, November 19, 1805, Captain Clark journeyed ten miles up the Long Beach Peninsula, carved his name in a tree in the vicinity of today's Long Beach, and returned. His campsite of November 19, 1805 was at Wallacut River.


Image, 2005, McKenzie Head from North Head, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
McKenzie Head from North Head. Captain Clark and eleven of the men camped on McKenzie Head on November 18, 1805. Image taken April 19, 2005.


Early McKenzie Head ...
The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "McKenzie Head" official in 1891. Variant names were "McKensie Head" and "McKenzies Head".

McKenzie Head was named in the fur trading days for Donald McKenzie, one of the many partners of the Pacific Fur Company who established Astoria, Oregon. McKenzie, along with William Price Hunt, were part of an overland party which left St. Louis in March 1811 and reached Astoria a year later.


1889 "Coast Pilot" ...
From the 1889 United State Coast and Geodetic Survey, Pacific Coast. Coast Pilot of California, Oregon, and Washington. by George Davidson, Assistant U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. Fourth Edition:

"... McKenzie's Head is the first knob to the northwest, three-quarters of a mile from the Light-house. It is an almost round knob, three hundred and fifty yards in extent and one hundred and ninety feet above the sea, covered with grass and fern on top and has no trees. It is almost surrounded by the sea except for a short distance on the northeast where it is connected with the Cape by a low, sandy neck covered with bushes. Towards the Light-house and towards the northwest are two low, broad sand beaches, upon which we have landed through the surf in a canoe. ..."

Image, 2005, McKenzie Head, Bronze Sculpture, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
McKenzie Head as seen from park road, Cape Disappointment, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2005.
Image, 2005, McKenzie Head, Bronze Sculpture, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
McKenzie Head as seen from campground road, Cape Disappointment, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2005.


Battery 247 ...
Battery 247 at Fort Canby, located on the top of McKenzie Head, was one of three Batteries surrounding the mouth of the Columbia River. Battery 245 was located at Fort Stevens, Oregon, and Battery 246 was located at Fort Columbia, located at Chinook Point, Washington.
[More]

Captain Clark Monument ...
On March 12, 2004, a bronze monument was dedicated to the Lewis and Clark expedition near the location of Captain Clark's campsite of November 18, 1805. The bas-relief sculpture was commissioned by the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark, and done by Olympia sculptor Gareth Curtiss. The artwork depicts Captain Clark and a group of the men who, along with Captain Clark, explored the shores of the Pacific Ocean on November 18 and 19, 1805. They camped on the north side of McKenzie Head and then journeyed as far north as Long Beach, Washington. The location of the monument is at the base of the 1/2-mile summit trail to McKenzie Head. Also at the site, the Pacific County Friends of Lewis and Clark commissioned eight interpretive panels which are located at the summit of McKenzie Head, throughout the campsite and near North Head. Content includes the shifting shoreline, natural history, trail guides and events from the journals of the exploration dates in 1805.

Image, 2005, McKenzie Head, Bronze Sculpture, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Captain Clark Monument, McKenzie Head, Cape Disappointment, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2005.
Image, 2005, McKenzie Head, Bronze Sculpture, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Captain Clark Monument, McKenzie Head, Cape Disappointment, Washington. Image taken November 9, 2005.


McKenzie Head Summit Trail ...
The trail to the top of McKenzie Head is 1/2 mile long and begins at a Lewis and Clark Trail marker.

Image, 2005, Lewis and Clark Trail Marker, McKenzie Head, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Lewis and Clark Trail Marker, McKenzie Head. Image taken November 9, 2005.
Image, 2005, Base, Summit Trail, McKenzie Head, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Base of Summit Trail, McKenzie Head. Image taken November 9, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 18, 1805, first draft ...
passed from last nitch across to the ocean ˝ a mile low land the Cape [Cape Disappointment] is a high Partly bald hill, founded on rock, I assended a high Seperate bald hill [McKenzie Head] Covered with long corse grass & Seperated from the hight of Country by a Slashey bottom 2 miles S. 60 W of the Cape- thence to a 2d Grassey pt is N. 50° W. 2 miles, Those hills are founded on rocks & the waves brake with great fury against them, the Coast is Sholey for Several miles of this Cape & for Some distance off to the N W a Sand bar in the mouth. Sholey Some distance out from the mouth The Coast from the Cape N W is open for a Short distance back then it becomes thick piney Countrey intersperced with ponds Point addams [Point Adams, Oregon] is <S. W> S 20° W about 20 miles the Course on that Side bears S 45 W. I cannot assertain the prosise Course of the Deep water in the mouth of the river, the Channel is but narrow. I proceeded on up above the 2d point and Encamped on the Shore above the high tide [near McKenzie Head], evening Clear, for a Short time. Supd. on Brant and pounded fish men all Chearfull, express a Desire to winter near the falls [Celilo Falls near The Dalles] this winter


Clark, November 18, 1805 ...
A little cloudy this morning I Set out [from their camp at Station Camp] with 10 men and my man York to the Ocian by land. i. e. Serjt. Ordway & Pryor, Jos. & Ru. Fields, Go. Shannon, W. Brattin, J. Colter, P. Wiser, W. Labieche & P. Shabono one of our interpreters & York. [according to Moulton, Clark gave the other men's names in two inconsistent lists --- those named included Clark, Ordway, Charbonneau, Pryor, the Field brothers, Shannon, Colter, Weiser, Labiche, Bratton, and York.] I Set out at Day light and proceeded on a Sandy beech

N. 80° W. 1 Mile to a point of rocks about 40 feet high [Chinook Point, now the location of Fort Columbia], from the top of which the hill Side is open and assend with a Steep assent [Scarboro Hill] to the tops of the Mountains, a Deep nitch and two Small Streams above this point, then my course was

N. W. 7 Mile to the enterance of a creek [Chinook River] at a lodge or cabin of Chinnooks passing on a wide Sand bar the bay to my left [Baker Bay] and Several Small ponds Containing great numbers of water fowls to my right; with a narrow bottom of alder & Small balsam between the Ponds and the Mountn. ...     This Creek appears to be nothing more than the conveyance of Several Small dreans from the high hills and the ponds on each Side near its mouth. here we were Set across all in one Canoe by 2 Squars to each I gav a Small hook

S. 79° W. 5 Miles to the mouth of Chin nook river, [today's Wallacut River] passed a low bluff of a small hite at 2 miles below which is the remains of huts near which place is also the remains of a whale on the Sand, the countrey low open and Slashey, with elivated lands interspersed covered with pine & thick under groth This river [Wallacut River] is 40 yards wide at low tide- here we made a fire and dined on 4 brant and 48 Pliver which was killed by Labiech on the coast as we came on. ...     after dineing we crossed the river in an old canoe which I found on the Sand near Som old houses & proceeded on-

S. 20° W. 4 Miles to a Small rock island in a deep nitch     passed a nitch at 2 miles in which there is a dreen from Some ponds back, the land low opposite this nitch a bluff of yellow Clay and Soft Stone from the river to the Comencement of this nitch     below the Country rises to high hills of about 80 or 90 feet above the water- at 3 miles passed a nitch- this rock Island is Small and at the South of a deep bend [near Illwaco, Washington] in which the nativs inform us the Ships anchor, and from whence they receive their goods in return for their peltries and Elk Skins &c. this appears to be a very good harber for large Ships. here I found Capt Lewis name on a tree. I also engraved my name & by land the day of the month and year, as also Several of the men.

S. 46° E. 2 Miles to the inner extremity of Cape Disapointment passing a nitch [location of Fort Canby] in which there is a Small rock island, a Small Stream falls into this nitch from a pond [today O'Neil Lake lies between Fort Canby and McKenzie Head] which is imediately on the Sea Coast passing through a low isthmus. this Cape is an ellivated <Situat> Circlier point [location Cape Disappointment Lighthouse] Covered with thick timber on the iner Side and open grassey exposur next to the Sea and rises with a Steep assent to the hight of about 150 or 160 feet above the leavel of the water <from the last mentioned nitch-> this cape [Cape Disappointment] as also the Shore both on the Bay & Sea coast is a dark brown rock [basalt]. I crossed the neck of Land low and ˝ of a mile wide to the main Ocian [today Waikiki Beach is located on the ocean side of this isthmus], at the foot of a high open hill projecting into the ocian, and about one mile in Sicumfrance. I assended this hill [McKenzie Head] which is covered with high corse grass. decended to the N. of it and camped. I picked up a flounder on the beech this evening.-

from Cape Disapointment to a high point of a Mountn. which we shall call [the Nicholas Biddle version has Clarke's Point of View inserted here. "Clarke's Point of View" is today's Tillamook Head, a name received when Clark visited and climbed the formation in Janaury 1806.] beares S. 20° W. about <40> [WC?: 25] miles, point adams is verry low and is Situated within the direction between those two high points of land, the water appears verry Shole from off the mouth of the river for a great distance, and I cannot assertain the direction of the deepst Chanel, the Indians point nearest the opposit Side. the waves appear to brake with tremendious force in every direction quite across a large Sand bar lies within the mouth nearest to point Adams [Point Adams] which is nearly covered at high tide. I suped on brant this evening with a little pounded fish. Some rain in the after part of the night. men appear much Satisfied with their trip beholding with estonishment the high waves dashing against the rocks & this emence ocian.



Ordway, November 18, 1805 ...
Cloudy. Capt. Clark myself and 10 more of the party Set out [from their camp at Station Camp] in order to go down and see the passiffic ocean [Pacific Ocean]. we proceeded on round Hailys bay [Bakers Bay] crossed two Rivers [Chinook River and Wallacut River] in Sd. bay [Bakers Bay] . ...     we proceeded on round high clifts of rocks where we had much trouble to pass.- towards evening we arived at the Cape disapointment [Cape Disappointment] on the Sea Shore. went over a bald hill [McKenzie Head] where we had a handsom view of the ocean. we went on a Short distance on the coast and Camped for the night.




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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    "Columbian.com" website, 2005, "Lewis-Clark sculpture dedication set March 12", by DEAN BAKER, Columbian staff writer, March 1, 2004;    "HistoryLink.org" website, 2006;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    NOAA Office of Coast Survey website, 2005;    U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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