Fort Canby State Park, Washington

Fort Canby (now known as Cape Disappointment) ┬ábears the distinction as the state’s first military installation. Constructed in 1852 to guard the mouth of the Columbia River, it was part of the defensive triad that included Fort Columbia and Fort Stevens (located on the Oregon side of the river.) The confluence of the Columbia and the Pacific Ocean was a historically significant destination that attracted Native peoples, European explorers, and the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition. This state park preserves some scattered remnants of the fortification, the oldest functioning lighthouse in the state built in 1856 (Cape Disappointment Lighthouse), and North Head Lighthouse. One of the park’s significant attractions is the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center that is sited on the bluffs overlooking the merging waters of river and ocean. It was near this point on November 7, 1805, that Lewis and Clark first glimpsed the Pacific Ocean.

Fort Canby State Park is located on the Washington side of the Columbia River, two miles southwest of Ilwaco off US Hwy. 101.

Grand Coulee Dam (Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area), Washington

I’m breaking my own rules by including the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, which includes the Grand Coulee Dam, in the Wonders of the World category. We intended that category only for Pyramids, the Gardens of Babylon, and the other famous wonders of the ancient world. But I can’t help myself when it comes to the Grand Coulee Dam. The Grand Coulee Dam is so awesome, so incredible, and just so huge, that the great Woody Guthrie wrote not one, but two songs about it:

“The world holds seven wonders,
As the travelers always tell.
Some gardens and some towers
I guess you know them well.
But now the greatest wonder
Is in Uncle Sam’s fair land
At king Columbia River,
The great Grand Coulee Dam!”

And again:

“Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
On up the river is the Grand Coulee Dam,
The mightiest thing ever built by a man
To run the great factories and water our land
Roll on, Columbia, roll on.”

When I first saw the Grand Coulee Dam, my reaction was that it had to be a work of nature, that no one could possibly have built it. Go there, look up at it from below, look down from on top of it, and you’ll see what I mean. The Grand Coulee Dam is now a relic from a period that is now hard to imagine, when government, of all things, moved earth and water to bring lights and irrigation to thousands. (They also moved the salmon when they authorized construction of The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Complex.)

Location Information and Directions

Links: Grand Coulee Dam