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A Climb to Discovery


I returned recently from a brief holiday. My first visit to Washington state. Our daughter, Tina, lured us there. She and her husband have become exuberant campers since they purchased an ultra-light Alto trailer that didn’t require her dad’s F350 truck to tow.

Tina first visited the Washington campsite a few years ago and was so enchanted with the area she pledged to return and drag her parents with her.

“It’s on the Washington coast at the mouth of the Colombia River,” she explained. “You’ll love it. Don’t let the name put you off.”

“You’re kidding,” I said. “Cape Disappointment?”

Blame the name on Captain John Meares, an English fur trader who was disappointed he hadn’t found the Columbia River.

As surprised as I was by the campsite name, I was more surprised by the name of the town where she suggested we stay. These days, my idea of camping is to flop into a folding chair and bolt back to the comfort of a hotel when the bugs start biting.

“The town’s called Ilwaco – pronounced ‘ill wacko,’ ” Tina said. “We checked the pronunciation with the locals so we wouldn’t insult them.”

So we have Cape Disappointment close to Ilwaco.

“Wonder how Ilwaco got its name?” I asked my husband, Jim. I researched and reported to him Chief Comcomly, of the Chinook Tribe, named the town for his son-in-law. “His name,” I said, as seriously as I could, “was Elwahko Jim.”

“Say no more,” as they say in England.





Pauline Nevins  August 24, 2022 - Auburn Journal

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