Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Clatsop Crest, Oregon"
Includes ... Clatsop Crest ... Widby Loops ... Bradley State Wayside ...
Image, 2011, Clatsop Crest Summit Sign, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Summit sign, Clatsop Crest, Oregon Highway 30. Image taken May 1, 2011.


Clatsop Crest ...
Clatsop Crest is a long range of hills on the Oregon side of the Columbia River running approximately northwest to southeast. The southern part is known as Nicolai Ridge. The Bradley State Wayside (also called Bradley State Scenic Viewpoint) is located at Oregon's Clatsop Crest, on Oregon Highway 30 Milepost 79.9.

Widby Loops ...
Before re-alignment, the early Columbia River Highway followed the Columbia River and went through today's Bradley State Wayside. The viewpoint was reached by a series of loops called the "Widby Loops".

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Before World War II, the Lower Columbia River Highway ascended from the river level up to Clatsop Crest, and part of the ascent was made by a series of hairpin bends called the Widby Loops. In 1914, J.L. Widby was resident engineer of the OSHD during the construction of these loops, and an assistant, Earl Withycombe, prepared a sign reading "Widby Loops," which was nailed to a tree nearby. The name became permanently attached to this interesting example of engineering, eliminated in the 1950s by a new alignment."

"The Widby Loops, 10 miles west of Clatskanie, is growing in the estimation of motorists as rivaling Crown Point for scenery. Here the road winds up a series of loops similar to the figure eight on the upper highway and at the top there is a magnificent view of the river and highway for miles each way. This point is 700 feet above the river."


Source:    "The Sunday Oregonian", September 1, 1918, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

The Widby Loops, Where the Lower Columbia River Highway Climbs to Clatsop Crest.

"The completion of the paving between Portland and Astoria will throw open to uninterrupted traffic another great section of the Columbia river highway, and the lower highway, in its way, will be as notable as the upper highway is in its way. The same high standard of grade and construction has been maintained, and at one point, Clatsop Crest, the highway winds up by a series of loops to the top of a high bluff, giving a vista of the lower river comparable to the view from Crown Point."


Source:    "The Sunday Oregonian", October 17, 1920, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.


Clatsop Crest in 1940 ...
From the Oregon State Archives "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon":

The highway ascends the Coast Range in a series of hairpin turns to CLATSOP CREST, 79.7 m., overlooking the Columbia River and the country beyond. In the immediate foreground is long, flat PUGET ISLAND, where grain fields and fallow lands weave patterns of green and gray, and sluggish streams form silvery canals. Although the island is close to the Oregon shore, it lies within the State of Washington. It was discovered in 1792 by Lieut. Broughton of the British Navy, who named it for Lieut. Peter Puget...."


Views from Bradley State Wayside (Clatsop Crest) ...
Today Bradley State Wayside sits atop Clatsop Crest providing fantastic views of the Columbia River, Puget Island, and Washington State.

"There'll be plenty of folks who, after driving over this lower highway, ascending the scenic Widby Loops on an easy grade and perfect roadbed to the summit of Clatsop Crest, 700 feet over the Columbia, and there witnessing the view unfolded, will swear that not even Crown Point, on the Upper Columbia River Highway, can surpass it."


Source:    "The Sunday Oregonian", June 30, 1918, courtesy Historic Oregon Newspaper Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Image, 2005, Cargo ship passing Puget Island, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Cargo ship passing Puget Island, Washington. View from Bradley State Wayside, Clatsop Crest, Oregon. Image taken February 19, 2005.
Image, 2005, Columbia River looking upstream from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
View upstream from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Puget Island and Coffee Pot Island, can be seen from Bradley State Wayside. Image taken April 19, 2005.
Image, 2004, Downstream tip of Puget Island, from Bradley Wayside, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Puget Island, downstream end, as seen from Bradley State Wayside, Oregon. Image taken November 20, 2004.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, March 25, 1806 ...
Last night and this morning are cool wend hard a head and tide going out, after an early brackfast we proceeded on [from their camp near Aldrich Point] about 4 miles and came too on the south side to worm and dry our Selves a little. Soon after we had landed two Indians Came from a War kia cum village on the opposite Side with 2 dogs and a fiew Wappato to Sell neither of which we bought. Som Clatsops passed down in a Canoe loaded with fish and Wappato. as the wind was hard a head and tide against us we Concluded to delay untill the return of the tide which we expected at 1 oClock, at which hour we Set out ...     we crossed over to an Island [Puget Island] on which was a Cath lahmah fishing Camp of one Lodge; here we found <one> 3 man two woman and a couple of boys who must have for Some time for the purpose of taking Sturgeon which they do by trolling. they had 10 or 12 very fine Sturgeon which had not been long taken; [White Sturgeon] ...     we remained at this place about half an hour and then Continued our rout. the winds in the evening was verry hard, it was with Some dificuelty that we Could find a Spot proper for an encampment, the Shore being a Swamp for Several miles back; at length late in the evening opposit to the place we had encamped on the 6th of Novr. last [near Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we fouond the enterance of a Small Creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs/drainages of the Clatskanie River system, near Wallace Island and Wallace Slough] which offered us a Safe harbour from the Winds and Encamped. the Ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number, who had established a temporary residence for the purpose of fishing and takeing Seal ...     here we found Drewyer and the 2 Fields' who had been Seperated from us Since Morning; they had passed on the North Side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearest. the bottom lands are Covered with a Species of Arspine, the Growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the under brush red willow, broad leafed Willow, Seven bark, Goose berry, Green bryor, and the larged leaf thorn; the latter is Now in blume, the nativs inform us that it bears a <leaf> fruit about an Inch in diamieter which is a good to eate. the red willow and 7 bark begin to put foth their leaves. The green bryor which I have before mentioned retains leaves all winter. made 15 Miles.



Lewis, March 25, 1806 ...
The morning being disagreeably cold we remained and took breakfast. at 7 A. M. we set out [from their camp near Aldrich Point] and continued our rout along the South Coast of the river against the wind and a strong current, our progress was of course but slow. at noon we halted and dined. ...     after dinner we passed the river to a large Island [Puget Island] 2 and continued our rout allong the side of the same about a mile when we arrived at a Cathlahmah fishing cam of one lodge; here we found 3 men 2 women and a couple of boys, ...     they had a good stock of fish on board, but did not seem disposed to sell them. we remained at this place [Puget Island] about half an hour and then continued our rout up the Island to it's head and passed to the south side. the wind in the evening was very hard. it was with some difficulty that we could find a spot proper for an encampment, the shore being a swamp for several miles back; at length late in the evening opposite to the place we had encamped on the 6th of November last [Cape Horn, Wahkiakum County]; we found the entrance of a small creek [one of the many mouths/sloughs of the Clatskanie River system] which afforded us a safe harbour from the wind and encamped. the ground was low and moist tho' we obtained a tolerable encampment. here we found another party of Cathlahmahs about 10 in number who had established a temperary residence for the purpose of fishing and taking seal. ...   :  here we found Drewyer and the Feildses who had been seperated from us since morning; they had passed on the North side of the large Island [Puget Island] which was much nearer. the bottom lands are covered with cottonwood, the growth with a broad leaf which resembles ash except the leaf. the underbrush red willow, broad leafed willow, sevenbark, goosburry, green bryer & the larged leafed thorn; the latter is now in bloom; the natives inform us that it bears a freut about an inch in diameter which is good to eat.-




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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:    Oregon State Archives website, 2009, "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon";    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;    Oregon Historic Newspapers Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, 2016;   

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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April 2011