O Dam, Locks, Bridges and Waterfalls

Trip Start Aug 31, 2012
Trip End Sep 10, 2012

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Tall Timbers Motel

Flag of United States  , Washington
Friday, September 7, 2012

We got up shortly after 8:00 today and were on our way shortly after 9:00. We stopped at Safeway for meat and cheese.  We should have gotten more bread too.  Our first stop today was at Cascade Locks.  The old locks that were used before the dam was built are no longer functional.  But the area is a  park with a Paddlewheeler that is used to cruise the river.  There is a great statue of Sacajawea and a big St. Bernard dog.  We walked across the old lock onto an island and walked around.  We saw several kinds of birds including a chestnut-backed chickadee, osprey, belted kingfisher, pine siskin, and common mergansers.  From the island we could see the Bridge of the Gods, a modern bridge that replaced a natural bridge that once spanned the gorge which is now under water because of the Bonneville Dam. 

Our next stop was the Bonneville Dam.  We went to the Corp of Engineers Visitor Center and looked at the exhibits on how the dam was built.  They had a 'fish way' or ladder where we watched the Chinook Salmon swim up.  They also had windows into the fish ladder so that you could watch them swim through the maze that simulated rapids.  Chinook salmon are the biggest, some about 3 feet long and almost a foot from top to bottom.  I went in the gift shop and found a bandana to wear under my hat when I hike, to keep the sweat out of my eyes.  It is purple and had animals with their tracks printed on it.  When we left the Visitor Center we drove out onto Bradford Recreational Island where I got a good picture of the Bonneville Dam.  We looked for picnic tables but didn’t find any.  On the way out we got stuck waiting for the bridge over the lock for the dam to go back in place.  After we crossed the bridge there was another road to Robin Recreational Island where there was camping and picnicking, so we found a table under a big tree and had our lunch. 

Our next stops were a series of waterfalls along Historic Columbia River Highway, aka Route 30, an Oregon Scenic Byway.  Somehow we missed the first one.  We think it was before we got off on 30.  We did find Horsetail Falls and stopped to look and get cooled off from the shade and the coolness of the water.  We skipped Oneonto Falls as it was over a mile hike to get there.  We soon came to Multnomah Falls which is the biggest tourist attraction.  There were a lot of people there.  We hiked up to the base of the falls and then up to the bridge in front of the falls.  It was a beautiful waterfall.  There was a crew of employees in the stream below the bridge collecting all the coins people had thrown in for the last year.  There were two girls who were roped to rocks in case they lost their footing and a guy who was keeping their ropes from getting tangled as they moved around.  There were signs everywhere telling people not to throw coins in the water as it is bad for the water quality and so the organisms in and around the water.  The next waterfall was Wahkeena Waterfall.  It wasn’t as big as Multnomah but it was very nice.  It also had a bridge in front of it.  The last three waterfalls were a bust.  We couldn’t find Bridal Veil Falls.  Shepperds Dell didn’t look worth the walk.  When we got to Latourell Falls, they were closed for reconstruction around them.  So we headed back east.

We got off at Cascade Locks and went in to Cascade for gas because we knew we would see another gas station for a while.  Then we drove over The Bridge of the Gods and back into Washington.  We drove east on 14 and headed north at Carson on Forest Service Road 30.  It was a good road, at least at the beginning, and not much traffic.  The reason is all the twists and turns makes it a little slower but we liked it.  We went over at least three passes.  The road was in terrible shape in places and we had to go really slow even though it was paved.  We got several good views of Mt. St. Helens on the way.  We finally arrived in Randle shortly after 6:00.  We had a little trouble figuring out which way to turn in Randle.  We found Tall Timbers and checked in.  We have a little cottage with a full kitchen.   We unpacked and went up to the restaurant and bar.  We sat in the bar and had drinks and peanuts using the netbook and I Touch waiting for Erin to call to tell us she had left.  She didn’t call until after 6:30.  So we ordered a Barbecue Chicken Pizza.  We didn’t finish supper until 8:00.  I went back to the room and had a shower and Larry went to the restaurant and waited for Erin to come.  He came back before she got here.  She arrived about 9:00.  I was writing the blog.  We planned for tomorrow and went to bed.
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