Warrior Rock Letterbox
Sauvie Island, Portland, OR
Placed by Der Mad Stamper on March 4, 2001
UPDATE - This box went missing for some time, but was finally replaced on 9/14/04.
The rocky point at the north end of Sauvie Island was named by Lt. William Broughton, the same Hudson's Bay Company representative who gave Mount Hood its name. As recorded by Capt. George Vancouver, on Oct. 28, 1792, they had found themselves "surrounded by twenty-three canoes, carrying from three to 12 persons each, all attired in their war garments, and in every other respect prepared for combat." Broughton, a former British prisoner-of-war in the American Revolution, made peace with this party of Native Americans (from the Chinook tribe) and named the place "Warrior Rock."
Nearly two miles past the store on Sauvie Island Road, turn right onto Reeder Road. Follow this road for about 13 miles as it turns to gravel and dead-ends at a turnaround with a parking area and an outhouse.
From the beach near the parking lot, you may already be able to spot a small white lighthouse three miles ahead. Start out walking along the beach for half a mile or so. Let yourself drift backwards through time and try to appreciate that this is the same beach Lewis and Clark crossed to camp on the island and meet with Native Americans.
When the sand narrows, climb up to the old dirt service road that follows the shore and continue. Eventually, the road opens into a meadow and forks. Keep right to find the road leading through the woods to Warrior Rock Lighthouse. The nearby white-sand beach makes an ideal picnic spot. (For a secluded viewpoint of the town of St. Helens, you might even want to hike to the end of the beach and follow a trail 200 yards across the tip of Sauvie Island.)
You may want to wear boots, because the trail is usually muddy and often has large puddles until mid-summer. Although this trail is open all year, winter floodwaters sometimes close the access road and may even cover the trail itself. In addition, spring snowmelt in the mountains sometimes floods this area briefly in May or early June.
You are likely to encounter stinging nettles, poison oak, and overgrown wild blackberry brambles with sharp thorns. Jeans, sleeves, and gloves are recommended. If you are not prepared to deal with such obstacles, do not attempt this letterbox... go back and enjoy the island's clothing-optional beach instead!
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NOTE: Always take adequate precautions (such as prodding with a stick and/or wearing gloves) before reaching into dark crevasses and holes in the wild. Before you set out read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.