The island reminded me of San Francisco Bay’s Treasure Island, except more rural. It feels sparsely populated and isolated. There is that distinct remote feeling of being on an island, and yet all you see if farmland as far as the eye can see. The remoteness feels more deep, as if you’re not only in a faraway land, but in different time.
Despite having a Northwest Forest Pass (for federal land), and Oregon State Park Pass (for Oregon state parks) and a Discover Pass (for Washington State parks), I still had to purchase a different pass for the privilege of walking to the lighthouse. The pass is sold in only four locations on the island: the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a 7-11, a Cracker Barrel, and a country store located at an RV park.
Luckily, there was a giant painted sign pointing to the country store and RV park on the one road to the trailhead. We pulled in, and I entered the little house-converted-to-convenience-store. The man behind the register stamped a piece of paper for me and wrote down my payment in a little book of pages with carbon paper as if we were in 1976. It added that remoteness of the rural island, as if time had stopped here decades ago.
We carried on with the water to our right (at least I assume that was what was up over the dune with stairs that led upward). There were parking spots on both sides of the road from near the country store to the trailhead. Then it would be three more miles on foot to the northwestern tip of the island and Warrior Rock.
The asphalt ended and our tires rolled onto Mother Nature’s earth for the last few miles. Grey skies and dampness abounded, keeping the dirt on the ground without the usual sand storms one encounters in dry Southern California. The parking lot wasn’t overly crowded, but there were people. Out afternoon arrival meant we were crossing paths with the eager morning hikers who were just finishing up.
I left our trusty steed to stare off into the farmland and ponder simpler times.
So we backed up and headed to the beach so we could go around. We shambled up the beach and onto the low grass running parallel with the trail.
I never regret any trail I take, for each step leads to the next one. There are some I will return to in order to experience time and time again, and there are some that having done them, I am satisfied. Warrior Rock is one of the latter. While grateful to experience this other-timely island in the middle of the Columbia River and to see the tiniest lighthouse with the most majestic artwork, I need not do it again. But I am ever appreciative of the journey, and I look forward to seeing where the next trail leads us from here.