Monday, February 27, 2012

Cape Disappointment, Astoria, OR & The 2012 FisherPoets Gathering

This past Friday post work I loaded up my tiny car and scooped up my friend Katie- we hit the road to Astoria, OR to meet up with Brittany who I hadn't seen in close to a year.

Brittany, who's also from Southeast Alaska, now living in Portland- always seems to find the most Alaskan-centered activities possible, and this trip was no different. We'd been talking about attending the 2012 FisherPoets Gathering since sometime in 2011 and it was the perfect excuse to get out of the city for the weekend and have a bit of a ridiculous adventure.

The drive down was a rainy mess, and I was beyond grateful to have Katie navigating while simultaneously feeding me pieces of quesadilla from the taco bus. We had decided to stay on the Washington side of the Columbia- in a yurt at Cape Disappointment State Park. It's about a half an hour drive between Cape Disappointment and downtown Astoria but it takes you through some sweet little communities with plenty of fun signs to read. Over and over again.

Our first night was fairly uneventful. There was a bit of miscommunication and a lack of cell service, but we all ended up at the yurt, warm and dry and safe from the freakishly aggressive band of park racoons. We somehow managed to bring enough food to feed about six people for a week, and regardless still ate mostly cheese and grapes.

Saturday morning we headed to Astoria- the plan being to check out a few of the FisherPoets events, and then to see what other sorts of trouble we could get into.

Our first stop was Pier 39, where we went through a self-guided tour of the old BumbleBee Seafood cannery. "Work Is Our Joy" was the phrase of the weekend- used in a lot of the poetry readings. I found it a little off-putting, but there's some really intense gillnetting history tied into it. More information via Salmon For All if you're interested.

 There had originally been a tour scheduled on one of the local fishing boats, but unfortunately it was moved due to the weather- you can't tell from the photo, but there was really intense wind and hail almost all day Saturday.

I'm pretty sure this was the entire old outboard motor show.

Huge, old, really neat canning equipment.

There were some beautiful old fishing boats on display as well- I couldn't get over how tiny the fish trap skiffs were!

From the waterfront we headed up a few blocks to the Fort George Brewery. February is stout month, and while I'm not normally much of a stout drinker- their Kentucky Tart Stout was absolutely phenomenal. We hung out in the brewpub for a good chunk of time, deciding to wait for their 1 PM brewery tour. We were very serious.

The tour was short and sweet, and the brewery smelled mysteriously of fresh oysters. I really love that so many small breweries are starting to can their beer. 

Brittany photo bomb!

Cutest hot water tank ever!

Post brewery tour we did a little bit of wandering, and ended up at the Astoria Heritage Museum. It was tiny and covered a lot of history in a few small rooms. My favorite was the upstairs- the largest room was nearly half full of vintage coin banks.

At this point we headed back over the bridge with the intention of taking a serious nap before our evening began. Easily distracted- we ended up instead at the North Head Lighthouse.

Once thoroughly napped and full of fruit and cheese, we headed back into Astoria for spoken word and music by The Ratfish Wranglers at The VooDoo Room, then finished out our night at the beloved Sea Hag.

On Sunday morning I decided that it would be fun to get the flu, and ended up cutting our plans for the day brutally short. A quick stop at the beach to check out driftwood, and we were back on the road fairly early.

All in all a great weekend, and much needed trip out of the city.
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