On Saturday, we went a little further into the Columbia River Gorge. Bryce had found a 3-mile loop hike at Cascade Locks, about 30 miles east of our campground.
We arrived at Cascade Locks and located the trailhead under the Bridge of the Gods.
There were several people there, selling salmon, fresh from the river! Tom was tempted to buy some – not a bad deal at $10/lb., but really didn’t have anywhere to keep a 15 lb. fish!
The Cascade Locks Loop Trail that Bryce found wasn’t really a single trail, but rather sections of 3 different trails that together formed a loop. Luckily Bryce had the trail description on his phone, so we could find our way around.
We started out on the Pacific Crest Trail which led us up to the rim of the gorge. This trail was fairly wide and level as it passed through the woods.
After a short distance we turned onto the Gorge Trail, which would take us deeper into the woods, up and down along the rim, for a mile and a half.
The underbrush was so thick, we thought for sure there must be some poison ivy in there, although we never spotted any . . . Nicolas tried to be extra careful anyway.
One thing we did see a lot of was slugs. Often they would be stretched across the trail, or stuck on a rock . . . and several times Nicolas would spot ones that Bryce and I missed!
As the trees above us filled in and blocked out the sun, we began feeling more and more like we were in a jungle or rainforest.
Rocks were covered in so much moss, they felt like pillows!
Soon, the summit was in sight!
We enjoyed a panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge and Washington across the river!
Then it was time to make our way down the switchbacks,
to the side of the highway, where we picked up the Columbia River Trail for the remainder of our loop.
That was the one good/bad thing about this hike . . . even when we were deep in the woods, the sound of the highway below was very loud! So, you couldn’t really feel “at one with nature”, but at least you couldn’t get lost either!
The Columbia River Trail was paved and wide, more of a bike trail, really.
The tunnel took us under the interstate, and the boys just had to see who could reach further up the wall of the tunnel . . . guess who’s taller??!!
There are some nice stone benches built into the sides of the tunnel, so we took a little break and enjoyed a snack.
This last part of the trail was an easy walk along the river and railroad tracks.
We saw lots of ferns, and some pretty wildflowers, and soon we were arriving back at the trailhead parking lot.
We got our lunch out of the car, and enjoyed a picnic on the side of the river, at the base of the Bridge of the Gods.
On the way back to the Campground, we stopped at the Bonneville Dam to visit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery.
The Bonneville Hatchery is one of several that work together to maintain the supply of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River.
The Hatchery brings in adult salmon for spawning in the fall, when the eggs are collected and put into incubators in the Incubation Building, and later the baby fish are raised in the rearing beds around the property.
There wasn’t a whole lot to see outside right now, as the baby fish are still in the incubators, and it’s too soon for adult fish to be brought in.
We walked along the paths,
and visited the steelhead pond,
and the trout pond.
We also visited the Sturgeon Viewing Center. Sturgeon are gigantic fish that date all the way back to the Jurassic Period – they’re dinosaur fish!!
Big ones, like these in the pond,
are thought to be almost 300 years old!
These fish are huge – as big as seals – and they just hang out at the bottom of the pond! Pretty cool!
We enjoyed our educational visit to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, and it would be really interesting to be here later in the summer when there were more fish in the outside tanks.
Back at the RV Park, it had gotten pretty warm, so we headed over to the pool for a couple hours before dinner . . . a nice way to end the afternoon!