Friday, September 11, 2009

Mighty Columbia....

We had hoped to visit Cascades and Olympia National Parks but had heard weather reports that it might not be the best and with time starting to be a factor (I had to be in Kansas City by Sept. 24 for a college reunion) we decided to head south. David had done some work for projects associated with the electricity produced by dams on the Columbia River, so he was interested in traveling through the gorge. It was quite spectacular to see this powerful river, the same one that Lewis and Clark traveled on their way to the Pacific. We came across the Bonneville Dam with its huge turbines generating thousands of gallons of water per minute. We found a campground near Beacon Rock, a massive boulder that sits in the river and is a local landmark. The campground was quite small, but very pretty and it had a lovely hiking trail that wound around to a good view of Beacon Rock. That evening, we caught our first glimpse of a pika, a relative of the rabbit which lives in rocky areas. They are small and reminded me of a guinea pig, but they have a funny little squeak like a prairie dog. There were several pikas living in the rocks that our camp site backed up against. We were up early the next morning as we had a long drive, but we did take the time to stop and pick up some beautiful peaches and red pears at a local fruit market in one of the valleys. In fact, the valley was lined with similar markets. We found out from a girl who worked in her family’s market, that about 80-percent of the crops grown in the valley were pears. She recommended the Star Crimson Pears and were they ever good—the sweetest we’d ever eaten! We also picked up some white peaches and wonder of wonders….huckleberries… at a much better price than we had paid in Glacier. To me, there’s just nothing better than tree-ripened fruit that’s fresh picked---it’s nature’s bounty at its best. When you’re on a journey like this, you just never know what treats await you ‘just around the bend.’

No comments:

Post a Comment