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Published: September 14th 2009
Columbia Gorge Passage
Aug 28-29 Leaving the Kalama pageant queens to their prosperous futures, we headed south to our storage unit in east Vancouver, depositing in bins along the way most of our cache of neatly tied shopping bags of detritus.
When we finally got all of our motley treasures shoved into the little storage cubicle, yes even the large china chicken, Phil was aghast at what STILL remained in the van.
I had to agree that the next few days would require some additional sloughing off (though I tended to think I could solve much of the problem by judicious rearranging and tucking things in here and there--I don't call myself the Queen of the Carry-On Luggage for nothing!)
Where would we stay next? Paradise Point sounded nice, but it was pretty close, then there was Battleground Park (hmmm, given our wrangle over the stuff in the van and storage unit I guessed we'd better avoid further battlegrounds)--we decided to press on along the Washington shore of the Columbia River Gorge to Horse Thief Lake.
We stopped for lunch in North Bonneville and were surprised to discover that the entire, picturesque little town had been
First dinner camping
Phil gets his steak despite the wind
moved to this new location when the third section of the Bonneville Dam had been built.
Bonneville Dam itself was an intense delight because of the large underground windows where you can watch the wild fish making their way up the fish ladder. Large steelheads, sturgeons and various types of salmon passed by, struggling or resting in the tumultuous waters. Clusters of lampreys, looking like plants undulating in the currents, suckered on the bottoms of the windows, waiting for nightfall when they would travel again. Only when snorkeling on the Barrier Reef have I had such a feeling of awe at being “present” in a wild underwater world. Entrance to the viewing area, and all of the other dam exhibits, is free.
Horse Thief Lake (now called Columbia Hills): You have to wonder when the tent sites all have wooden windbreaks in place and the entire park is criss-crossed with rows of poplar trees! But it was a pretty place, nestled down by the Columbia River. Though the wind howled, we found a sheltered spot at the river bank and Phil grilled the steak we'd planned for the first night. Given the wind, we opted to sleep in
From the ladies room: “My husband helped put up the US flag this morning. The manager said he goes through $80 in flags a month—the wind just rips them to shreds.”
Next morning we went to view the petroglyphs, ancient rock carvings made by Native Americans. This outdoor museum has recently been organized and opened by the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Nez Perce Tribe, with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration and Washington State Parks. The petroglyphs had been incised from their surrounding rocks years ago, when the Dalles Dam was built, and had remained in storage for nearly 30 years!
Celilo Falls, the fishing site and important gathering/trading area for Plateau Indians for millennia, was inundated when the Dalles Dam was built, and unlike the township of N. Bonneville, there was no chance to move it to a new location. Some things are irreplaceable.
I don't know if any of you saw the documentary on OPB a few months ago. It showed
that recent imaging techniques had allowed the underwater of the Dalles Dam area to be surveyed and the rock structure of Celilo Falls is still intact. Due to blasting that occurred during the building of the dam, some Plateau people believed it had been blown up. The newly revealed underwater terrain infuses some with hope that one day the Dalles Dam will be removed and Celilo Falls will once again be a cultural and fishing site.
Further up the Gorge we stopped at the Maryhill Winery and then the Maryhill Museum of Art. What an eclectic and varied museum that is!! When Portland magnate Samuel Hill picked this area to be an agricultural and social center, he didn't realize that it was just too dry. Eventually his would-be country mansion was made into an art museum, at the urging of his influential women friends: Queen Marie of Romania, Loie Fuller the dancer, and with the later help of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, originally from Belgium but married to a wealthy man in San Francisco.
Some of the exhibits are: furniture designed and made by Queen Marie, replicas of Rodin sculptures, glass works, photos and early film of Loie
An outdoor museum of ancient Native American rock art
Fuller dancing, photos of gatherings of Queen Victoria and her extended family, including the event at which Nicholas and Alexandra (pictured) announced their engagement, a collection of dozens of tiny mannequins wearing post WWII French fashions, oil paintings, orthodox religious icons, and a wonderful (travelling) exhibition of Ansell Adams photographs.
Admission fee is small ($7) and there's a nice picnic area, replete with peacocks, as well as a cafe indoors for coffee or lunch. A good day outing from Portland or Walla Walla.
And Walla Walla was our next stop.
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