Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Our time at the hatchery is soon coming to an end. One place we haven’t explored very much is The Dalles (13,000 souls).
This place is of historical significance as it was the location where pioneer emigrants had to build rafts and travel by river in order to continue their journey to the Willamette Valley. Later another choice was offered as a fella by the name of Barlow built a toll road around the south side of Mt. Hood. That meant a choice of rafting the treacherous Columbia River Rapids or paying to continue on dry land. A Pioneer Discovery Center is located just outside of town that tells the story of the pioneers and those who followed.
Our route to The Dalles took us through the burg of Mosier, then up and over the bluffs that overlook the Columbia Gorge via old Highway 30.
We are glad we chose this 20 or so mile route as the scenery was spectacular. We passed several wineries and farms that are built in the rolling highlands, then stop at the Rowena Crest Overlook.
Views From Rowena Crest Overlook
From the overlook one can see the twisty highway making its way down the bluffs towards the interstate as well as an overview of the Gorge itself. The only downside was there was a heavy haze in the air that smelled like smoke.
The one place we wanted to visit in The Dalles is the old catholic church. The old church’s steeple stands 176′ high and was considered a navigational landmark by ships captains. However, the original St. Peter’s Church was deemed too small by its congregation, a new church was built and the old church was to be demolished. A handful of town folks caught wind of the church’s impending doom and raised enough money to buy the old gal. So that’s what they did. A preservation society was formed in 1971 which has been dutifully maintaining the church ever since.
Although the church needs a little t.l.c. she is really in pretty good shape. A docent, a non-catholic, told us all about this beautiful lady as well as the trials and tribulations of those who care for her. We are very glad we chose to visit this church.
On another note we were fortunate to visit with some dear friends, meeting them in Troutdale for lunch. As luck would have it Tim and Renee had spent the summer in their newly purchased home in Custer, S.D. and were traveling right by the hatchery on their way to SoCal. A day or two out Tim suffered a detached retina so they hightailed it to the highly recommended Casey Eye Institute in Portland to get Tim’s eye patched up. We met them about a week after the operation and he seems to be doing OK with some vision already restored. As with all old pals who haven’t seen each other for too long a time the conversation started where it left off. It was sure great visiting with them once again and we are looking forward to our next meet. Via con Dios, our friends.
A Merganser and an American Dipper at Work in Tanner Creek
Meanwhile, back at the hatchery:
Today we were refreshing the fish icons stenciled on the asphalt walks. Following the fish takes one to the more interesting parts of the hatchery, mainly Herman the Sturgeon, the upper and lower trout ponds and the visitors center. Jil and I sweep off the old, worn stenciled fish, place the big fish stencil over the old and line it up as good as we can. Then out comes the special line spray paint and viola!, we have a freshly painted fish on the asphalt.
So as to warn folks that they shouldn’t walk on the freshly painted fish we put out small traffic cones adjacent to them. Ya, you guessed it, not more than a minute after the paint and cone goes down, in my presence, two 8-10 year old kids walk right through the fresh paint, nearly tripping over the traffic cone in the process. Too late to stop the kids I was able to reroute Dad. Fifteen minutes later the same two kids and Dad come out of the gift shop and all three of them walk past the cone and trample another freshly painted fish! The sad thing is that not one of them had an electronic device in hand to distract them….. They were just blissfully unaware of their surroundings. Good thing we don’t have any cliffs at the hatchery……..
Thought For The Day is again – Common sense is not a gift, it’s a punishment. Because if you have it you have to deal with all the people who don’t.