Sunday, July 19, 2015

Chapter 28 - Cascade Locks Day 3 and 4

Thursday, July15th:
Since we first visited the west coast of Oregon the weather has been cool and for the most part sunny. I suppose we have become somewhat spoiled which might explain why I was a little disappointed when we awoke this morning to cloudy skies and what looked like the possibility of rain. Our plan today is to cross The Bridge of the Gods into Washington, drive down the Columbia Gorge eastward, and then return back on the Oregon side again following another section of the historic and scenic highway.  This photograph is of the Bridge of the Gods taken yesterday when the sky was blue and the sun a shining.

There was an old Indian legend that when the tall gorge walls collapsed into the river about a thousand years ago and created a natural dam in the area of the Cascade Locks, it was an act of God.  For the Indians the rocks in the river provided them a means of crossing the river, thus we derived the name the Bridge of the Gods.  The construction of the current bridge began in 1920 and it spans over the river a distance of 1,854 feet. As you can see in our photo of the bridge as we are crossing, there were lots of clouds around us.

Our first stop once we arrived in Washington State was at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center just off the Lewis and Clark Hwy that we were following east.  As it turns out we did not go into the center mostly because of the two dogs, but we did walk around the grounds looking at the old railroad engines and cars, and the old farm and construction equipment. One railroad engine looked like it might be suitable for dogs only due to its small size, so we obliged.  I wonder what "P & S" stands for?

The Lewis and Clark Highway was very lovely although not quite so much as yesterday's historic trail along the Oregon side of the river.  We did pass through a number of small towns some of them quite industrial in nature where we could see between our road and the river large timber mills processing lumber possibly for shipment overseas to such counties as China. Most of the towns were older in appearance which added to their tourist appeal.  By far however, the most interesting part of our trip down the Lewis and Clark Highway occurred when we stopped to watch windsurfers out in the Columbia River. We were fortunate in that the windy conditions today attracted dozens of windsurfers. The cool weather and the cold water obviously required all of them to wear wet suits.

I thought that I would add this one last photo taken from the Washington side of the Columbia not only because I kind of like the two women in the photo, but also because it starts to show what happens to the landscaping in the area as the rainfall starts to diminish as we drive further away from the coastline. The number of trees start to decrease and the dried grass becomes more prominent. Obviously when we finally leave Oregon and Washington I am sure that we will return to the dried prairie grass that covered the ground through much of our trip westward.

We crossed back over into Oregon at a city known as The Dalles, located about 45 miles upriver from Cascade Locks.  The Dalles is important in the history of the Oregon Trail because it is usually listed as the western termination point of the trail. Settlers who came west by wagon train typically abandoned their wagons at The Dalles and proceeded down the Columbia River by boat. Obviously, since the title of our blog makes some references to the Oregon Trail, we thought that it was very important that we acknowledge that we have finally completed our trip on the Oregon Trail from the beginning to the end.  Unfortunately, perhaps for some, the blog is not complete as in our case we still have to return to our home in Florida.

Our drive back was on another section of Oregon's famous historic highway. This time however, the road did not pass through tall evergreen forests, but it did take us to some heights way above the Columbia River such as to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint where we were able to take once again some "majestic" views of this great Columbia River Gorge. The views were quite unlike the views that we experienced yesterday as a result of the different climate up the Columbia Gorge. As you can probably tell from the photograph, it was a windy day up here on the bluff above the river.

We returned home by mid-afternoon to again get in some relaxation before once again enjoying a fine bottle of Oregon wine at 5, followed by dinner, and then to bed early. I will never agree to the claim made by some that we go to bed early only because we have no TV coverage down here in this deep Columbia River Gorge.  Never. Well, maybe never.

Friday, July 16th:
Terri rejoined us this morning a little after 9:00 am. Terri still works except on Fridays, so we have been without her company since last weekend.  She and Joan are scheduled to attend a wedding later this afternoon, so today will be the last day of our visit with Joan and Terri and Oregon.  Joan has two things planned for us today. First we are going to try a hike up a trail to another waterfall, and secondly we are going to visit the Bonneville Dam located just downriver from our campsite. The hike to the waterfall proved to be longer and more difficult than anticipated so we returned to the beginning before we actually reached the waterfalls.  Nevertheless, the trail was beautiful as it wound through the woods and we got lots of good exercise.  Nothing was really lost.  Hey, if you've seen one waterfall, you've seen them all . . . .

After we left the trail entrance we drove over to the Bonneville Dam.  I have to admit that I did not expect much here.  We have seen the Hoover Dam and of course the power plants in Niagara Falls, and after these two I would have thought everything else might be a disappointment.  Fortunately this proved not to be the case.  What made Bonneville Dam really interesting was to witness how they handled the fish in the river, particularly the salmon. They had constructed a fish passage center that allowed the salmon to jump up small falls to spawn upriver just like they would have had to do if the river were in its natural state before the construction of the dam. What was also interesting was they had devised a way to actually count the number and the species of fish that had bypassed the dam. Incidentally the dam itself was quite a sight as you can see in this photo.  It was constructed during the depression era and started producing power back in 1938.

The photo above was the last photo taken of the three of us before our planned departure tomorrow morning.  Joan has done a great job showing us her fine state.  This trip will never be forgotten.  We can say no more.

1 comment:

  1. P & S stands for Portland and Seattle, the first railroad company to build along the WA side of the Columbia River. For a little history, see