After Auntie Katie, the cousins and I left The Battery Russell, we were starting to think about dinner. Auntie Katie looked on her phone and saw that The Astoria Column was on a hill overlooking downtown, where the restaurants are. Why not go see the column, and then go get dinner?
We drove under the Astoria bridge, which is over four miles long, and through a thick forest on the way to the top of Coxcomb Hill. We were overlooking the Columbia River, with a view west to the Pacific Ocean and east over miles of forest.
The overcast had gone and we were in dazzling sunlight. We looked at the painting on the 125 foot column, but not for long, because as soon as we found the staircase inside, we knew we had to climb it.
Up and up and up, around and around…164 spiral steel steps. I just kept holding on to the railing and not looking any further than my feet.
The Astoria Column was built in 1926 with railroad and business money to commemorate Astoria’s role in the development of the northwest. It is patterned on Trajan’s Column in Rome and the Place Vendome Column in Paris. The paintings on the outside show important things that happened in Oregon history.
Finally, the top! The views were even longer, the perspective even better, the breeze even cooler, than below. It was almost overwhelmingly beautiful. We all just stood and stared, feeling light headed.
Then we remembered. Dinner! Auntie Katie and I knew we were working on borrowed time, as all of us were getting spacey and a tad cranky. It was time to find food. We walked down, watching our feet at every step, played Animal Impersonator for a few minutes, and headed off
The GPS directed us to Mo’s, which is famous up and down the Oregon Coast for clam chowder.
Once we had some steamer clams and crackers we all felt better, and we enjoyed watching the sun go down over the water. We filled up on hot dogs, fish and chips and Petrale sole, and were ready for the long drive back to Portland.
Auntie Katie drove, the kids slept, and I watched the forest get dark and thought about how grateful I am for my life.