On January 5, 1806, privates Willard and Weiser returned to Fort Clatsop from the salt works camp with news of a beached whale carcass (nearly eighteen miles south), and a sample of the blubber they received from a lodge of Tillamooks. It proved quite tasty, resembling “the beaver or the dog in flavor.” Clark decided “to Set out early tomorrow with two canoes & 12 men in quest of the whale or at all events to purchase from the indians a parcel of the blubber.” The party reached its destination on January 8. Clark marveled at the “inoumerable rocks of emence Sise out at a great distance from the Shore and against which the Seas brak with great force [and] gives this Coast a most romantic appearance.” He also noted a “village of 5 Cabins on the Creek which I shall call E co-la or whale Creek.” Unfortunately, the whale was “pillaged of every valuable part” and “noting more than the Sceleton.” At the village, Clark “purchased some oile and about 120 w of Blubber after rendered, finding they would not trade I Deturmined to return home with what we have.” On the journey back to Fort Clatsop, an attempt to rob and kill Hugh McNeal was thwarted. This episode inspired to Clark nickname the Necanicum River “McNeal’s Folly.”
Located within the city of Cannon Beach, the Ecola Creek/Cannon Beach site comprises three sections. North of Ecola Creek is Les Shirley Park, with restored wetlands and interpretive wayside exhibits commemorating the Corps of Discovery. South of Ecola Creek is Ne Cus’ Park, encompassing the Ecola Creek Village archeological site. To the west and south is the distinctive Cannon Beach coastline with the sea stack rock formations noted by Clark.