Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Great Northwest: Rivers Run Through It

Road to Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park
Water is the lifeblood of our planet, and here in the Pacific Northwest our usually abundant supply is fed by thousands of streams and rivers flowing off our mountains.  Doesn't it make perfect sense that the major mountain range that bisects the region is named the Cascades?

From the Columbia River, whose dams irrigate eastern Washington agriculture and provide hydroelectric power to much of region, to the Olympics and Oregon's Coast Range, water rules here.

While there are a host of economic and environmental issues surrounding use of our rivers and streams (Yea Elwha River dam removal! Boo potential coal export terminal on the Columbia River!), today's post is simply celebrating the beauty of Northwest waterways.

That's it. Just some photos of my favorite rivers and streams around the region. 

Wenatchee River flowing through Tumwater Canyon

Maybe it's because I'm a Pisces and was raised in Troutdale, or because I grew up spending hours exploring the small natural stream that ran through our front yard, but nothing soothes me like the sight and sound of a small river or stream.  Especially a mountain stream.

Skagit River above Newhalem
Skagit River just below Newhalem
 Naches River along the Chinook Scenic Byway
Water draws life.  Before the formerly mighty Columbia River was dammed into a series of "lakes," the salmon runs were epic.  That some persist is a testament to the tenacity of these incredible anadromous fish.

Columbia River looking east from Crown Point

Great blue heron, probably hoping for a migrating salmon, Piper's Creek, Carkeek Park

While I'm not a whitewater kayaker, I have done some kayaking in and around some regional rivers.  Thrilling! Although one of the coldest days of my life was kayaking down the Skagit River River on a snowy January day looking for bald eagles.  

Big Beaver Creek flowing into Ross Lake, Ross Lake National Recreational Area, North Cascades National Park

I love our Northwest rivers.  How about you? What are your favorite rivers and streams?


Ed said...

Awesome pictures! There is so much to do out here isn't there?

ML said...

Hey, Naches was the river of my childhood, the most effective way to drop my blood pressure is to stand next to a river – they are magic.

jill said...

Thanks Ed. Yea, tons to do in this region, although I'd call it "in here" rather than "out here" :).

ML. lovely image, yes, rivers and streams are magic, especially those that are not dammed or otherwise denuded, disturbed, and polluted.

Mary said...

Every time I read your blog I find myself researching airfares - so much I want to see and do in the Northwest!

jill said...

Mary, thanks for stopping by and reading my blog! If you do plan a trip out, I'd be happy to give you more tips or even serve as tour guide for an afternoon!