98. Tillamook Head

Pacific Ocean

View south

Aerial photo of Tillamook Head: a tall cliff jutting out into the ocean

© 2000 Airphoto—Jim Wark

Delightful View

On 6 January 1806, Clark and about half the Corps, with Sacagawea and her little boy, set out from Fort Clatsop to the ocean south of Tillamook Head to see a beached whale. Clark hoped to purchase some blubber and whale oil from the Clatsop and Tillamook Indians who were butchering the carcass.

The next day, after passing the salt works and continuing along the "round Slippery Stones under a high hill," Clark related, "my guide made a Sudin halt, pointed to the top of the mountain and uttered the word Pe Shack which means bad, and made Signs that we . . . must pass over that mountain. I hesitated a moment & view this emence mountain the top of which was obscured in the clouds and the assent appeared to be almost perpindecular."

After two hours of "labour and fatigue," at one point drawing themselves up by bushes and roots, they reached the summit of Bald Mountain. Nicholas Biddle, editor of the first published account of the expedition in 1814, paraphrased Clark's description: "Here one of the most delightful views in nature presents itself. Immediately in front is the ocean, which breaks with fury on the coast, from the rocks of cape Disappointment as far as the eye can discern to the northwest, and against the highlands and irregular piles of rock which diversify the shore to the southeast."

Clark "looked down with estonishment" from Bald Mountain, the high point just left of center in the photo. Beyond and to the right of it, jutting farther out into the ocean, is Tillamook Head. The mountains in the background at left are part of the Coast Range.


From Discovering Lewis & Clark from the Air
Photography by Jim Wark

Text by Joseph Mussulman
Reproduced by permission of Mountain Press