Tag Archives: oregon

Bonneville Fish Hatchery, Columbia Gorge (Oregon)

hunter sturgeon

It was another pouring rain day as we were driving along the Columbia River Gorge towards Hood River. Thanks to Tim needing to pee, we pulled off at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery for a quick stop. Tim ventured off while Hunter and I hunkered down in the truck, seeing no need to go out in the rain. The next thing you know, Tim is knocking on the truck window, holding our rain coats in his hands and telling us that we have to get out…

The Bonneville Fish Hatchery is a shared federal/state facility, which meant that it was actually open during the Federal Shutdown. It was built in 1909 and raises Chinook, Coho & Steelhead Salmon. The most amazing thing about the Hatchery is their Sturgeon pond/ viewing centre. Hunter is standing in front of Herman the Sturgeon who is 10 feet long, 425 lbs and over 60 years old!

sturgeon info

 

sturgeon

 

We were all in awe and probably stood and watched the sturgeon for 20 minutes. There were about 10 of them in the tank ranging from HUGE (10 ft) to BIG (8 ft) to little (2 ft) and they just swam around and around… It is amazing to think that these fish can live to over 100 years old. They have been close to extinction at times and now have very tight fishing guidelines to ensure their longevity is maintained.

sturgeon timeline

Bend, Oregon

Many good friends told us that we HAD to stop in Bend, Oregon as part of our adventures. We took their advice seriously and spent some time reading up on all that Bend has to offer, and it looked great – mountain biking, whitewater kayaking right through town, funky cafes and an outdoor oriented culture.

We had planned to spend 2-3 days (at least) to experience all it had to offer…

The bad news is, that we spent about an hour in Bend. After a cool and wet few days in Washington and northern Oregon, we rolled into Bend and stopped at the local kayak shop to get some intel. It was quite cool out(the staff in the store were wearing winter hats and light parkas) and the forecast for the coming week was for temps hovering around the freezing mark. That did not leave us feeling inspired. On top of that we learned that the water levels were really low and the only sections that were viable were class 4/5 (well above Hunter’s level).

After picking up an Oregon paddling book with ideas for places we could potentially hit on our return trip in March, we made the call to get in the truck and DRIVE. Betty, the magic GPS calculated that it was 14 hours from Bend to Moab and we were on our way south in search of sunshine and warmth. Within an hour south of town we could see the snow marching down the mountains and felt quite justified in our decision to move on.

I counted 4 vegetarian or organic places just on our drive through Bend to the kayak store and there looked to be some really cool architecture in the old mill district so I’m buying into all the advice and we will have to find a way to catch Bend at a better time. We will be back!