Thursday, October 10, 2013

Columbia River Gorge -- 1

The one day during our seven-day stay in Woodland, WA, that called for sun was the day we planned to see the Columbia River Gorge. However, the day's beginning appeared to question "sunny."
We headed south on I-5 to I-205 to WA14. The pullover at Cape Horn provided these early morning views of the Columbia River.

A little further east brought us to the area overlooking the Franz Lake Refuge, which is a popular place for wintering tundra swans. Its system of river streams and wetlands provide habitat for breeding, migrating and wintering waterfowl and other aquatic migratory birds and raptors such as bald eagles.
We took a few minutes to photograph some of the plants around the viewing area.

Buoyed by the appearance of the sun, we continued along highway 14.
We stopped at the Bonneville Dam
and learned about the fish ladders.
A fish ladder, also known as a fishway, fish pass or fish steps, is a structure on or around artificial barriers (such as dams and locks) to facilitate diadromous fishes' natural migration. Most fishways enable fish to pass around the barriers by swimming and leaping up a series of relatively low steps (hence the term ladder) into the waters on the other side. The velocity of water falling over the steps has to be great enough to attract the fish to the ladder, but it cannot be so great that it washes fish back downstream or exhausts them to the point of inability to continue their journey upriver.
A comfortable theater-like setting is available for viewing the fish ascending these ladders.

As we left the Bonneville Dam, we were treated to some magnificent views of the Gorge.
This was the view as we exited on of the few small tunnels along highway 14.
Whether it was a view of a highlight along the riverbank

or the majesty of the Columbia River itself, we were drawn to the scenery.

The winds of the Gorge create the ultimate winds that draw windsurfers and kiteboarders from around the world.
If you look at the lower left quadrant of this photo, you can see a person on the beach readying to begin a flight using the green chute in front of him.
And this brings us to Hood River, which is known as the outdoor capital of Oregon.

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