Thursday, July 28, 2011
The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in the United States by
volume and is the largest river in North America that flows into the
Pacific Ocean. It also forms much of the border between Oregon and
Washington, and we followed most of this border today on Interstate 84
on our way to Portland. It's a really pretty drive. Many people think
Oregon is very wooded and damp, but the western and northern parts
of the state are very dry. This makes the Columbia a very wet spot in
a pretty dry area. Along it are several large dams that provide the
region with a great deal of hydroelectric power.
It's definitely a working river, as we saw lots of barges moving up
and downstream carrying all varieties of cargo. This particular tug
was towing a barge of logs, presumably to a lumber mill.
Several areas of the river were quite wide and gave the perception
of the entire river being a very large lake.
The whole area is a bastion of energy development. Besides the
multiple dams, wind farms populated the entire stretch of the river.
Although the river valley is sparsely populated, we did go through
several small towns such as The Dalles and Hood River. The closer
we got to Portland, the busier the river and the highway became.
We were also treated with a great view of nearby Mount Hood. It
was a bit hazy, but there weren't any clouds and it was nice to see
this Cascade mountain up close!