We had breakfast and set off for the waterfront at Cascade Locks planning to take a two hour sail on a sternwheeler, "The Columbia Gorge" at 11 am. We discovered that the early sailings had been cancelled and the only one was at 1:30 p.m. We bought tickets for that and went exploring the town. Christine wanted a photo of the sign at the entrance. There were two one above the other. She reckons the top one must have been the one for the pioneers when they were passing through!
We went down to the Locks. The town is named for the Cascades, a series of rapids on the river and the locks were constructed at great cost in the late 1800s to bypass them - hence the name. In 1938 the Bonneville dam was opened and flooded the gorge, submerging the rapids and making the locks unnecessary. Now the Cascades are not there and the locks disused. How fleeting are man's plans!
The Indians (this is not a pejorative word here) fished using platforms, nets and gaffs to harvest salmon going up the river. With the loss of the rapids, this was no longer possible, but the Indians still have fishing rights and some use more modern methods, but other use platforms along the river and at the locks.
We had a look at the locks and the fishing. Christine found birds feeding their young under a bridge and photographed them as they fluttered back and forth feeding their young. We walked over to an island and then went to the Bridge of the Gods. About 700 years ago, an eruption across the river sent boulders tumbling down and creating a dam which the river eroded to form a bridge across the Columbia. Indian Lore tells of starcrossed lovers (what Indian myth does not?) and attributes the landslide to Gods hurling rocks which caused the bridge, hence the name. When the present steel bridge was constructed, it was named after the bridge in the legend. A mural on the pier of the bridge illustrates the legend and depicts the new bridge. The bridge is a toll bridge and the toll was set at 50 Cents and remains that today.
We returned to the sternwheeler dock and had lunch at the cafe there. There are interesting sculptures in the adjacent park showing Lewis and Clark's dog and their Indian interpreter, Sacagawea. There is also a couger in attack mode.
We boarded the boat and it took off upstream where we saw an Osprey fishing and another watching over its nest. We also saw a windsurfer, who we realized when we looked at the photos later was a girl. We turned and headed downstream to the Bonneville Dam which we had visited yesterday. We saw a rock with many cormorants and gulls, all of which took off as we reached them on our return. On another rock a sealion was basking in the sunshine. It was a glorious day with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds which never seemed to obscure the sun.
We gassed up the truck and returned to the campsite where we barbecued chicken for dinner and spent the evening sorting photos and reading. Tomorrow we leave for Canon Beach on the Oregon Coast, hoping for just as good weather - time will tell....