Saturday, September 29, 2018
I couldn’t figure out why my posts have been so long but I finally had an epiphany. Rather than writing and posting several blogs a week I’ve decided to write only one. And that is why my blabber fingers have been writing such long posts. Duh!
The Fall Salmon Run has been very light. Mature fish return to the hatchery anywhere from three to five years from release. Immature salmon known as jacks have returned to the hatchery in almost unprecedented numbers. They are basically yearlings about the size of a trout, that have no business coming home now as they can’t reproduce. The Fish Guys think that early release of fingerlings that was necessitated by the big Eagle Creek Fire may be the cause. Nonetheless, the mature fish are being spawned. The jacks become food for Herman and company.
Preparing to Feed Herman the Sturgeon and Friends- and Herman knows it!
The jacks are laid out on the floor in the walk-in freezer room, and we bag them after they are frozen. We completely filled up one 4’x4’x 3′ tote with 25 bags or approximately 500 jacks just from one harvest! That could be a year’s supply of food for Herman- and there will no doubt be more. To feed Herman the Sturgeon and others in Herman’s pond as well as the sturgeon in the other sturgeon pond the frozen jacks must be prepared. First, a frozen bag of jacks are taken from the walk-in freezer room over to the band saw. Yes, a wood, in this case fish, cutting band saw. The saw is used to cut the jacks into smaller pieces that the smaller fish can handle. Eight to 10 fish are left whole and placed into a bucket. The pieces of fish are evenly divided into two buckets. Now those frozen fish must be thawed in order to be edible and are left overnight at room temperature to thaw. The next day the whole frozen fish have thawed to the point of being slimy and the chunks have turned into a sort of primordial soup. Yum! The whole fish are fed first so that the big fish will eat those and not the smaller pieces meant for the smaller fish, then the chunks/primordial soup is served after about an hour’s wait. One can imagine that serving breakfast to the fishies can get quite messy!
So today we have a predicted rain day. We’ll use today as an example of what’s normal for a rainy day prediction here at the hatchery. Weather guessers say rain for two hours in the morning- prediction= percentage 40% chance. Rain to slacken to occasional showers by afternoon- prediction= 40% chance. Well folks, it rained almost all morning with few breaks. It rained almost all afternoon with just a few more breaks than in the morning. No sun breaks…….. nope, nada, keiner. The rain slackened just enough to let the dogs out to do their then start up once again. Mostly not a hard rain but one that gets everything wet.
Occasionally Mom Nature likes to lull one to sleep with the soft pitter patter of falling rain on the roof. Then the pitter patter stops. Let’s take the dogs out before it starts to rain again. Mom Nature somehow senses our intent and waits until we exit the coach and have walked about a hundred yards. Then BUSSHHH, she dumps a huge bucket of water directly on our unsuspecting bodies- a deluge! How the heck does she know? I did see a pretty sunset way off in the distance about the time the heavens opened. We get the soaking wet mutzos inside and towel them off. Nothing like the smell of wet doggies!
We were in need of a nice day trip. We decided to cross the Bridge of the Gods and head west on Highway 14 towards Camas, WA. We drive by the Bonneville Dam and stop at the day use area provided by the Corps of Engineers. On the premises is the sight of the now defunct Fort Cascades. A series of three forts were built to protect the Cascade Rapids portages. The fort was constructed in 1855 to protect the portage around the final section of the Cascades Rapids. It burned in 1856, was rebuilt and abandoned in 1861. In 1894 the small community site that was built around the fort as well as the fort site were obliterated by the largest flood of the Columbia River in recorded history.
Views From North Bonneville, Washington
Continuing on we made a stop at the city of North Bonneville. This place was originally located in the area flooded behind the Bonneville Dam. The town was relocated below the dam and rebuilt by the Army Corps of Engineers. Nearly 600 people live in this master planned community. Homes are built on large lots which are situated around parks and common grounds. It’s a quite lovely place to live. The downside is there is really no downtown shopping area. It does have a civic center complete with social hall, city hall and a post office.
Highway 14 west of North Bonneville takes one through some very thickly forested county, so thick one can’t see the forest for the trees- so to speak. The road winds over hill and dale eventually leveling out on a flood plain. At the west end of that plain, up against a hill is the City of Camas.
One could drive right past this town and only see the giant Georgia Pacific paper plant and never notice the quaint, picturesque and historic downtown of Camas (19,300 souls). Camas lies smack dab in between the adjoining cities of Washougal (pop. 15,000) and Vancouver (174,000 souls). Ironically, the city of Vancouver is considered a “suburb of Portland, OR” by Wikipedia. even though a state boundary line and the mighty Columbia River separate the two.
There’s a Bunch of Nuts in Camas!
The historic Old Town Camas is a walkers delight. Not too big, not too small- just right. There’s lots of eye candy i.e. beautiful old style street lamps adorned with flowering plants, and interesting store fronts.
There are lots of signs which are apparently posted by concerned citizens out on the sidewalks with messages that I do not understand with an equal amount that I do.
Since no bridge exists over the Columbia at Camas we continue into Vancouver. An informational sign indicates that its a 30 minute drive to Portland even though it should take 10. Traffic is bumper to bumper for about two miles when we come to the source of the logjam- a minor accident, the vehicles are not blocking the roadway and an officer is on scene taking a report. Once past we accelerate at warp speed, turn onto the southbound I-205 and again onto the eastbound I-84. Our goal is to exit at Troutdale and hit the outlet mall. We buy shoes at a shoe store and some goodies from the Hanes store.
We decide to follow the old Historic Columbia Gorge Highway. It parallels the Sandy River for a ways then heads up to Corbett. We like driving this portion of the highway as it passes through rolling farmland before diving down into the Gorge. Much of the historic highway is closed as the Eagle Fire of 2017 created rock fall and falling tree hazards that haven’t been cleared yet. We head down off of the mesa and into the Gorge and then eastbound on I-84 once again.
We are back at the hatchery safe and sound in our home away from home. More to come……