Saturday, September 19, 2009

Falls and Fish

We didn’t do a whole lot yesterday except some walking and resting, along with a couple of errands, the most interesting one of those being a quick trip to a Trader Joe’s Grocery.  We picked up a couple of bottles of the well-known “2 buck chuck” wine, which is now actually $2.99, still a darn good deal, since it’s pretty good wine.  I also got a bottle of sweet Marsala wine, which will be used to make Chicken Marsala. 

Today, Dortha, Mark, Deb, Jim and I all went for a day trip up the Columbia River Gorge to see the many water falls and other sights.  Rod wanted to get their rig washed, so he stayed behind for that.  He missed a lot of beautiful sights!

We started out at 10 this morning, and our first stop was at the Crown Point Overlook, which is the highest point on the scenic byway through the gorge.  When we got up there, the traffic was stopped by a flagger, but we hadn’t seen any road work signs.  I walked over to the woman holding the stop sign and asked what the story was.  “Car Commercial” was the answer.  Not only was the traffic on the road stopped, but because of that jam, the parking lot was all jammed up as well.  Pretty soon a park ranger came out and had a little talk with the flagger, and all of a sudden, there was no more traffic jam.

While we waited for all that to clear up, we took a look around at the view of the Columbia River:

Jim 023

Jim 022There are at least eight waterfalls to be seen along the byway.  Our first stop was Loutrell Falls, where we found the film crew at work filming a Kia commercial.  Turns out they were having a little problem with the vehicle carrying the film camera and needed some jumper cables.  They saw Mark walking by and asked him if he had a set of cables.  Mark to the rescue:

Ellie 042 We all took lots of pictures at each stop:

Ellie 045

Jim 053

And even took some of waterfalls.  This one is Shepperd’s Dell:

Jim 055 Bridal Veil Falls:

Ellie 092 Of course, the most famous of them all, Multnomah Falls, was a must-see:

Ellie 119 At just about every stop to view the falls, we had to walk and/or climb anywhere from just a few yards to 2/3 of a mile or more.  By the time we’d visited 6 falls, we were all getting pretty hungry, so we consulted the GPS to locate a restaurant for a late lunch.  We got directed to a Mexican Restaurant that turned out to be closed, so we ended up with sandwiches at a Subway instead.

After re-energizing, we stopped at Bonneville Dam and looked at the fish ladder, then went into the visitor center where they have fish viewing windows. The salmon are returning now, so we got to watch them on their amazing final journey:

Jim 148 We then stopped at the fish hatchery and viewed “Herman” the 10 foot sturgeon.  By the time we stopped there, my little camera battery had given up, and Jim was still in the gift shop, so I didn’t get a picture of Herman.  But he was definitely an interesting old fish, reportedly about 70 years old. 

Our final stop at the hatchery was the last stage of the salmon’s journey, where they arrive at the pools where they were hatched and complete their life’s journey.  This was taken from right above the last hurdle the fish have to clear to get to what’s called the Crowding Pool.  When there are a certain number of fish in this little holding area, the water level is increased to the point where the salmon can swim into the final pool, where they spawn and then expire:

Jim 171 This was a really interesting and educational stop on the day’s trip.

We headed back to Troutdale to pick up Rod and go to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, since we missed having Mexican food for lunch.  It was a great choice for dinner, and a fun way to complete an awesome day.

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