Thursday, August 11, 2016

Waterproofing A Lighthouse

That's a simple project right?  Just throw on a lot of paint so the water runs off.  Unfortunately, quick fixes are not always the best.

This is the North Head Lighthouse, constructed in 1897 when ship captains finally convinced everyone they could not see the Cape Disappointment lighthouse when approaching from the North.  They took the lens from the Cape lighthouse and installed it at North Head.
You can make your way here by taking Hwy 100 off Hwy 101 and heading south.  This is the second attraction in this State Park that requires the Discovery Parking Pass.  If you want to save a few bucks, see this and Fort Canby all in the same day ... easily done.

From the parking lot, walk directly to the Gift Shop, even if it is closed.  Pass the gift shop, which is housed in one of the original buildings and continue due West.  You will come to a set of stairs and a nice concrete path going to the lighthouse.  You will also see this great view!!
Although they have not advertised it anywhere, the lighthouse is not accessible.  When I got to the bottom, it was totally surrounded by chain link fencing.  I heard a lot of hammering on the way and it took me awhile to figure out what was going on.
Made of brick and plaster with some concrete thrown in, it is crumbling terribly.  In an effort to stop the erosion of saltwater, SOMEONE who shall remain nameless, painted the entire lighthouse over and over again.  All that did was keep the water INSIDE the walls, causing them to erode even further.  Here's a picture from last year. 
Although falling apart, it was nothing like I saw this time around.  The damage is considerably deeper.  Not that it's going to fall down ... it's mostly on the outside.  The hammering was to install plywood and plastic around the base before stripping off all the paint and making repairs.  Some of the mortar holding the bricks together also needs some TLC.
Let's hope the work gets done quickly (probably not going to happen) and the lighthouse reopens to the public.  It was amazing inside when I was there last year.
Coming back up to the parking lot, you can either take the concrete walk again or the trail back for some great ocean views.  Either way, you will pass the Light Keepers residence and a huge duplex, living quarters for the Assistant Lighthouse Keepers.  If you look close, you can see both trails leading from the buildings to the lighthouse.
All of the structures are now under the control of the State Parks system.  If you want an unusual vacation spot, these buildings are available for rent.  I think I remember them being around $350 a night, two night minimum.  Try as I might to get the information, the Park Service Website just wouldn't work.  It would be amazing and well worth the price if the interior was furnished with original furniture, but it is not.  Still, what a great place to spend the weekend ... with your own private lighthouse!!
After several days of on and off rain, fog has settled over southern Washington like a blanket.  I've been wondering why the weather is so different this time around, so I asked a local.  Here's the thing ... heat rises (we all know that) ... but when it's really hot in the interior of Washington, it rises fast enough to suck all the cool air from the coast inland.  That keeps the coast fairly sunny and with lots of breezes for kite flying.  

This summer, that's not the case.  It's actually cooler over the entire state, leaving all the clouds and fog on the shoreline.  Now I see what people mean by "the mold".  After many days of damp air, you can begin to smell it.  The best part however, is that it has been a lovely 60 degrees almost every day.
The park has filled up with tents and boats, one camp alone having 5 tents, 2 easy-ups and 4 trucks pulling 4 boats.   It must be getting close to Salmon Derby time.  I even saw not one, but TWO trailers come in (to the same camp) with freezers tied on.  Good heavens, isn't there a limit to how many fish you can take?  I guess they haven't heard the fish aren't biting.  


  1. Seeing as how I can't post pictures here but I can send tham
    I don't know if you read the blog Wheeling it.
    But Paul an Nina were lighthouse volunteers there ,, they have some really beautiful pictures There always looking for volunteer as a lighthouse guide
    Free RV site No stress The hours are great and you get to meet a lot of people

    1. I actually picked up a Washington Volunteer card at Fort Canby. I guess they are always looking for more people. Thinking I'll do that next year!!