Saturday, October 20, 2012

(Not) Fall Drive

A couple of weeks ago when I was checking it popped up a window offering to tell me “the best drives of fall.”  Curious, I clicked.  Drive #3 was the Blue Ridge Parkway, and I felt a pang of homesickness for North Carolina.  Then I clicked on another window that offered to tell me the top 10 fall destinations.  And in the top 10?  The Columbia River Gorge.  I felt better—if I didn’t get to experience a fabulous NC fall, I could at least experience the Columbia River Gorge.  Our calendar has been so full that the only time I could figure out to go was on Conference Sunday after the last session.  We left the kids at home and Russ & I headed out in the convertible, top down and jackets on.

The convertible does NO favors for my hair.


We drove through the gorge and saw almost no fall color!  The evergreens were still green (of course) and most of the deciduous trees were as well.  After a while I decided I needed a bathroom but I didn’t tell Russ soon enough to stop at Multnomah Falls.  (Which probably would have been crazy crowded on a lovely Sunday afternoon, so perhaps just as well.)

Instead we drove a little farther to the Bonneville Dam.  It was nearly closing time, but we were able to run in, use the bathroom, and then take the elevator down and watch some salmon swim upstream.  (No strange pacific lamprey this time though.) 

Then we decided to stop at the fish hatchery that is near the dam.  I wish I’d taken more pictures—I was very entertained by the fact that the buildings at the dam and hatchery are all super formal & beautiful.  There was one building that looked like it might be a home, or even a bed & breakfast, but no—it was the egg incubation house.

The best part of the fish hatchery was the rose garden and the giant sturgeon.


(So glad there was someone there to interpret!)

The sturgeon were really huge.  Perhaps big enough to keep me from ever recreationally going into the Columbia River.  (Not that I know if people do swim recreationally in the Columbia.)  Apparently they can live for almost a century and grow to be 10 feet long, and they’re not very far removed from the prehistoric.

Gigantic sturgeon

As we left the fish hatchery we could tell the sun was getting low.  The light was beautiful.




I didn’t want to wait for the sunset at the fish hatchery, but then as we were driving and it was clear the sun was truly beginning to set I was sad not to be watching it by the river.  (There are so many huge trees along the road that quite often you can’t see the river at all.)  Bless Russ’s heart—he really indulges me so much.  He pulled off on an exit that turned out to be a boat ramp, and we drove to the bottom right by the river to watch the sunset.  I had been trying to take sunset pictures for weeks, so I had a great time taking pictures.



It may not have been the drive full of fall beauty that I planned, but an afternoon spent with Russ is always a success to me!

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