A couple of weeks ago we had a sunny Saturday. I was recovering from the deadly flu with little energy to go on but I was desperate for fresh air and sunshine. I didn’t have the mental energy for wandering or driving aimlessly so I decided to head across the Columbia River to Ft. Vancouver National Historic Site with a purchase in mind, and with the opportunity for a quiet, manageable walk in sun.
I don’t think I’d been to Ft. Vancouver in the winter before, but as expected it was not crowded, and was interesting and very calm even with the sounds of the modern world in the background. The wind was brisk, the sky brilliant and snowy Mt. Hood provided a magnificent backdrop. Most buildings and exhibits were open for self-guided tours, but there were living history interpreters working in the blacksmith and carpenter shops, and a guide available in the big house. This site holds special significance for me as a fifth-generation Oregonian. My predecessors came across the Oregon Trail in 1845 and stopped at this Hudson Bay Company outpost before going farther. We know quite a bit about their journey, but I’ve often wondered about the relief they must have felt when they finally arrived at a welcoming, hospitable place after such struggle.
I will admit to not being overly excited about becoming a Senior Citizen, but it does have its rewards. Buying a Senior Pass was the small purchase I had in mind for my visit. The Senior Pass (available in person at federal recreation sites or online) is one of the best bargains in America. https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm For citizens and permanent residents age 62 and over, $10 in person and proof of age will buy you a lifetime pass to 2,000 National Parks and other properties managed by five other agencies: Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Army Corps of Engineers. This pass will cover a total of four adults arriving in the same car, and children are always free. $10, for the rest of your life! If you buy online or by mail the cost doubles, but even then it’s a stellar deal. It’s important to note that the cost of the Senior Pass is scheduled to go up this year, with the actual roll-out date not yet confirmed. Once that happens the pass will cost $80.
Go out, get some fresh air and see the country. It will make you feel better.