The fifth annual Cathlamet Downhill Corral skateboarding contest took place over 3 days in late August with my attendance on finals’ day. I went to Cathlamet the first time on 4th of July after moving to Longview, Washington and attempting to find Lake Sacajawea. I was told there would be fireworks and a lot of activities during the day. I turned the wrong way from the driveway of my apartment complex, which I soon realized. Since I was anxious to take a much-needed break from unpacking, I kept going having sufficient time before it would be dark enough for fireworks. I drove along the scenic Columbia River and followed the sign to Cathlamet (Cath-lam-et), 20 miles farther along, wanting a bit of rest and relaxation. Life on some days is good and possibly an adventure.
When I arrived on the main street of this very small town, (approx. pop. 600 people), I visually took in a diner, massage salon, coffee shop and small grocery store. It was quiet and mostly shuttered, which wasn’t a surprise for the time of evening but it was the 4th of July. Everyone must have gone to Lake Sacajawea for the fireworks. As I continued on my drive, I saw a bridge that crossed the Columbia River and a sign that there was a ferry 3 miles ahead. Wow! How cool is that? I saw a woman walking across the bridge and decided I would come back and walk it another time and turned the car around and went back to the town.
I was to find out, as I shopped in the grocery store, that there was a local farmer’s market. I put it in my memory for a return visit. This took place a few weeks later. I came back on a Sunday and the young woman who served me coffee told me the market was on Fridays. I had a cup of great coffee at the Tall Tree Cafe, and then walked the bridge inspired by the beauty and calm of nature. I looked forward to coming again to see what the farmer’s market had to offer, as I like to buy local.
The small farmer’s market, known as Two Islands Farm Market, has locally grown produce, plants, and baked goods. After buying produce and a houseplant I got on the cable car on wheels, (original body is vintage San Francisco), and went to the marina where I got a latte at a freestanding coffee shack. The aroma and taste of fresh coffee and the delight of boats were a delicious combination. There is signage of the passage by Lewis and Clark through the water corridor that yields magnificent scenery where the marina exists.
Sitting by the water eating a bowl of pasta was a gentleman who told me about how beautiful the area was and how much he enjoyed semi-retirement living on a boat. This contemplative man told me about the upcoming skateboarder’s contest. It was a few weekends away and I planned on returning. I wanted to take pictures having been a skateboarder earlier in my life. I wasn’t disappointed.
It was thrilling watching the young males (mostly) speed downhill toward town and hearing cheers from the expectant fans. A sharp left at the bottom of the hill and rounding the curve took those who stayed on their boards toward the water. But first it meant taking the ramp and getting air and, of course, there were crashes. It was exhilarating to be an observer photographing the action and capturing happy smiles. Come visit Cathlamet any time you want a dose of small town fun, adventure and travel rewards.
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