Bonneville Locks, Hood River

Apr 14, 2018 - National Geographic Quest

Early morning, as the rains falling from the clouds diminished, National Geographic Quest approached the first lock of the trip. The Bonneville Lock is one of the ‘smaller’ locks of this trip up the Columbia River, meaning the change in elevation from when we enter to when we exit is only about 60 feet. Over the course of this river cruise, National Geographic Quest will gain over 700 feet through multiple locks, including four on the Snake River.

After passing through the locks, we came alongside at Cascade Locks where we disembarked and loaded into coaches. Some guests chose to visit Multnomah Falls, while others took a short drive to tour the Bonneville Dam created by the Corps of Engineers. The Ranger gave us a presentation about the history and mechanics of the dam as well as the efficacy of the fish ladders to help the salmon along their way on their annual migration to spawn. Towards the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to enter the dam and view the hydro-electric mechanism (e.g. the turbines). These massive structures produce energy on demand. Another highlight for many was the beautiful Mt. Fuji blooming cherry (prunus serruate shirotea).

After another scrumptious lunch aboard National Geographic Quest, we reloaded the coaches to visit the Western Antique Automobile and Airplane Museum or the Mosier Tunnels for some hiking or biking. Today was indeed a day full of options. The museum, also known as WAAAM, holds an incredible collection of completely functioning vehicles in absolutely mint condition. In fact, today, the hanger doors were open and a few planes and cars were being taken out for a ‘weekend jaunt.’ Very cool to observe!

No matter what option one chose – biking, walking, viewing planes and autos – all of us wound up in Hood River to explore the town or explore the pFriem Brewery. We were given a tour, samples and more! Needless to say, this part of the day was a hit! Across the street, while some enjoyed their adult beverages, locals enjoyed winds with their kite boards and wind surfers.  And just to top off the day, we stopped at Rowena Point for a beautiful overview of the Gorge in all its glory! Overall, a very engaging day!

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About the Author

David Jaffe

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

For more than 20 years David Jaffe has guided and taught a variety of audiences about our natural world and our connection with it. His childhood interest in natural systems eventually brought him to Evergreen State College where he earned a B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geology, followed by a M.S in Applied Ecology from the University of Vermont. Mingling an academic background with experience working around the world in exceptionally diverse environments, he is able to efficiently observe, understand, and interpret natural and cultural history.

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