Far from being disappointed, Lewis and Clark celebrated when they first sighted the Pacific Ocean from Cape Disappointment, a dramatic headland on the Washington side of the Columbia River. Those stalwart explorers had trekked nearly 4000 miles across the continent. Today the trail up Cape Disappointment is still inspiring, but the hike is much shorter. It also features a number of additional historic attractions, including a lighthouse, an artillery bunker, and a museum.
Heceta's vessel, he reported a bay here that he thought might be a river. But the crew was sick with scurvy and there was no time to investigate. Three years later Cook sailed by without even reporting a bay.Considering that the Columbia River is seven miles wide at its mouth, explorers to the Oregon Coast had failed to discover this "Great River of the West" for a surprisingly long time. Neither Drake nor Juan de Fuca noticed it on their voyages in the late 1500s. The second flurry of sea explorations in the late 1700s also had bad luck. Juan Perez piloted Spanish ships along the coast here in both 1774 and 1775. The second time, steering Bruno de
By 1788, freelance fur trading ships were routinely plying the coast. British captain John Meares, sailing under a Portuguese flag of convenience, stumbled into a storm here and desperately sought a harbor. He fled toward the Columbia River opening "with every encouraging expectation" that it would be the great river of legend. But breakers on the river's shallow bar convinced him he must be mistaken. Angrily, he named the river mouth Deception Bay, and the nearby headland Cape Disappointment....This sample taken from Hiking Oregon's History by William L. Sullivan.