Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Tempting fate? A summer-ending nature trek

Today we're doing a little backwards time travel and turning the blogging clock back to Labor Day Weekend, or as many view it: the "official" end of summer. When Andrew mentioned he was going fishing, and asked if I wanted to go with, the symbolism of the trip was not lost on me. 

After all if Labor Day is seen as the end of summer, Memorial Day is the beginning. Memorial Day was when my summer-altering injury—resulting in surgery—occurred. So this was my chance to get back out there and end the summer on a better note than it started. Are you with me?  Let's go...

Okay you're right. I thought better of it and didn't take that trail much further than visible in the photo. Perhaps a little too daring.

Instead I followed a paved trail, the Historic Columbia River Hwy State Trail. It took me through a lovely stretch of scenery and then underneath what is now Interstate-84, which travels along the north side of the state along the Columbia River. That's Tanner Creek underneath, which is what Andrew was fishing, somewhere.

This was my interesting discovery of the day.

It's basically a retaining wall system with planting pockets, although I don't think the pockets were necessarily "planted" in this application.

More like they were just filled with soil and things planted themselves.

It stretches on for quite a distance.

And in places it's definitely not holding up well.

But I thought it was an interesting idea... one that could be the inspiration behind something quite fabulous.

So shall I take the high road? Or the low road? Actually I arrived here via the low road and it's a bit of a walk back to where we're supposed to meet up later... so back down the low road.

I've seen severally woolly bears this autumn, this little guy was the first.

Such a great mossy railing, there are many along this stretch of old highway, maybe someday I'll try to document them all.

Looking over the edge, another part of Tanner Creek.

Once I was back at our car (the meet up location) I realized I still had a little time to kill, so I walked over to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. That took me back under I-84, as we were parked near the Wahclella Falls Trailhead (I trail I would love to take another time, being as it was Labor Day however there were way too many people to want to do it this trip).

Such formal looking buildings. 

Above this building you can see some of the trees that burned during the Eagle Creek fire in 2017.

No photos of the actual Bonnevillle Damn to share, it's not visible from the fish hatchery, which is where I was headed.

This made me laugh. I am surrounded by water (the river, the creek, several ponds at the hatchery) but here, in the middle of a golden patch of lawn... water.

There was a lovely bench here where you could sit and admire the view.

But instead I walked on to the hatchery, where suddenly I'm having flashbacks to our early days as Portlanders when Andrew and I visited, I'd forgotten all about it. That little white "house" has a viewing window where you can look out on a fish pond, underwater. Even though I managed to get a shot without people there were many families crowed in there without masks...

I chose to observe the pond from a different vantage point.


They were so large, it's really hard to tell in these photos.

That spotted guy was sure I had food to share, I did not. 

Can you see the hatchery ponds in the distance (below)? I should note it's not just sturgeon here, there are also trout and salmon. From their website: "The hatchery raises 8 million Fall Chinook, 1.2 million Coho, 200 thousand Summer Steelhead, and 60 thousand Winter Steelhead. Adult salmon begin arriving at the hatchery in September and are then sorted through before spawning begins."

Looks like this gunnera got a little toasted in the summer heat.

Look at all those fish!

Tiny little guys.

I little more history: "Bonneville Hatchery was first named “Central Hatchery” and was built in 1909. The hatchery receives thousands of visitors daily. The average number of visitors to the hatchery each year is one million people, from all over the world." One Million people! I wonder how many notice the precision pruning?

Thankfully there were no injuries on this trip. Just lots of fresh air and sunshine appreciation.

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All material © 2009-2021 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. The fish hatchery was more interesting than I'd have expected, although the claim of a million visitors a year is hard to wrap my head around. Your photos of the sturgeon in crystal clear water are striking.

    1. Truth be told I had fun meeting back up with Andrew and showing him photos of the fish I'd seen... not mentioning (at first) they were at the hatchery.

  2. It's a good thing that you got back on the horse, so to speak. I love the phots of the Tanner Creek. After all the rain we had, I wonder if the trickle turned into a forceful rush of water.

  3. Woolly bears. I remember seeing them all over Santa Clara County when I was growing up. Don't see them anymore...

    1. I went years without seeing them, it's nice to have seen so many this year.

  4. Glad you took the safe way! I spent most of my career in a building on Fish Hatchery Road.

  5. That is one productive hatchery and a million visitors is a lot! I had no idea that fisheries were so popular.
    Glad your visit was enjoyed without a mishap!

    1. I think it helps that it's a nice stop on a busy highway.

  6. Fish hatchery was interesting

    1. Hope you can visit for yourself someday.

  7. Good choice not following the rough trail. The alternative route was very picturesque and interesting too.


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