One of my favorite local sites that we visited in Oregon was the Bonneville Hatchery and Dam. How interesting can it be to look at a bunch of fish?
The Bonneville Hatchery and Dam is located just an hour from Portland. As I mentioned in my last post, it's a great addition if you're visiting Multnomah Falls. Do both and make a day out of it.
As with Multnomah Falls and Mount Hood, we visited Bonneville multiple times during the summer of "Our Year of Living in Portland." The falls are majestic and Mount Hood is stunning, but Bonneville is just a bit quirky. I love quirky.
This "Historic Area" has cute cottages that remind me of Alice in Wonderland.
One of the best parts is the Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center, where they have an enormous fish named Herman: Herman the Sturgeon. He's massive! There is an underwater viewing area for visitors.
The hatchery has dozens of breeding ponds for trout.
But the Salmon runs are the most impressive. The giant fish jump over locks, jumping several feet in the air, as they desperately try to swim upstream to spawn. They were really active in mid-August. The cute pug in the picture is Jewels. She belongs to our friends, Dave and Cath. They all visited us for the eclipse.
Here we are with Dan's mom, standing in front of a fish ladder. The fish climb up the ladder. I could watch fish climbing the ladder all day. It's mesmerizing. This isn't as weird as you think, I used to do animal observations at The Greater Los Angeles Zoo. The Bonneville Hatchery has employees who count fish to understand the current status of the fish population. They want to keep the salmon thriving.
We went on a free behind the scenes guided tour of the Dam. This is a great bonus for visitors. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers build the dam at the during the early 1900's and it was renovated in the 1950's.
It is here, that I learned about the most horrifying creature on the planet. Truly, this is stuff straight out of a horror film.
I'm talking about Lamphrey.
Lamphrey attach themselves to fish ( or in this case windows) and slowly eat them. They basically have a mouth that sucks on and these sharp, vampire like teeth. Additionally, they look a bit like eels and one of the few creatures that freak me out are eels. I think it's because they hide in crevices and dart out. I remember going snorkeling in Maui and being freaked out over the eels, sharks were no bother.
Lamphrey are infinitely worse than eels. And now I will definitely never go swimming in the Columbia River!
And the river...
The Dam spans both Oregon and Washington. It's easy to cross over and there are exhibits on both sides. Plan to spend a few hours at the Bonneville Hatchery and Dam.
I'm sneaking this in here, but when we took Dan's mom to these sites our day was epic. After the dam, we drove to the Hood River County Fruit Loop. This is a ride through the lush countryside, where there are many farms and opportunities to purchase local goods.
Cows hanging out by the side of the road. They say California cows are the happiest, but I think an Oregon cow enjoying the summer sun, takes the win. These cows earned the weather.
Dan's mom loves to knit and we found an llama farm with a store selling llama wool. Dan and I visited with the animals, while Jan picked out pretty yarn for her next project.
There are so many great places to visit in Oregon, make sure that the Bonneville Hatchery and Dam are on your list. Also, make time to enjoy a drive through the Fruit Loop.