738 feet to Idaho

Fish Hook Recreation Area

On the next leg of our trip, we crossed the border into Idaho at 738 feet above sea level. We hadn’t been sure we were going to make it all the way, given how much the current was slowing us down at Bonneville earlier in the trip. To reach Idaho, we passed through McNary Locks on the Columbia River, and all four locks on the Snake River. We had a lockmate with us for the only time upriver: a tug and barge at Ice Harbor Dam.

Here’s our log from the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge to the Idaho border. You also can display these on the map view.

4/26/12, 7:45am: Nearing McNary Dam
We’ll be locking through in about 45 minutes. This is our last lock heading upriver on the Columbia.
4/26/12: Current
Strong current 1.5 miles from the dam.
4/26/12: Entering locks
We’ve lost our nice weather–rain is pouring today.
4/26/12: Going up
Spitfire watches us lock through. He seems to find the noise a little disconcerting.
4/26/12: Spillway
View to the spillway from near the top.
4/26/12: Nearing exit
The bridge is up and the gate almost is open.
4/26/12: Lockmaster
The lockmaster appologized for the rain. 🙂
4/26/12: Debris
Lots of debris around the gate.
4/26/12: Car on slope
That white speck halfway down the slope is a car. It must have slid down from the road high above.
4/26/12: 11:15am Twin sisters
According to Native American legend, a spirit-bird turned twin sisters to stone as a punishment.
4/26/12: Kennewick Bridge
The bridge normally us up, but lowered when we were about three miles away, and then went back up again as we neared.
4/26/12: The Chief
The tug The Chief coming hard off the docks behind us. He would quickly pass us before the next bridge.
4/26/12, 12:55pm: Snake River Mile Zero
We saw this freqently–a barge looking nearly sunk with one end loaded first.
4/26/12: Strong current
4.5 miles from the Ice Harbor Dam, the current is roaring.
4/26/12: Buoy 10
The closer we got to the dam in distance, the later our ETA, because the current kept increasing. At one point we were down to 2.5 knots at 100% power. Moving over a bit out of the main stream helped, but the dredged channel is quite narrow, with little space on either side.
4/26/12: Buoy 20
Buoy 18 must have been right under–we didn’t even see it.
4/26/12: White Pelican
White Pelicans frequented the waters downstream of the dam. The fishing probably is good there.
4/26/12: Current near locks
Strong current flowing out just before the protection of the seawall at the locks.
4/26/12, 3:10pm: Ice Harbor lock
About to enter.
4/26/12: Wind
In addition to strong current, we had big winds–32 knots as we entered the locks. James hair is all blown back in it. The mooring bits bounced and clattered in the wind waves–the lock was much louder than normal. You can hear them if you turn up the volume in this 360-degree view of the lock.
4/26/12: Lockmate
In the locks waiting for the tug Hurricane to enter behind us. This is the first time we’ve been inside with another boat on this trip.
4/26/12: Hurricane securing
4/26/12: Going up
There was plenty of room with Hurricane‘s single barge. But we probably both couldn’t fit if it was pushing four barges. We’re lucky, as commercial boats get priority and we might have had to wait.
4/26/12: At the front
We’re right up near the front this time to make room.
4/26/12: Lockmaster
The lockmaster making a visual inspection.
4/26/12, 4:45pm: Fish Hook Recreation Area
We typically prefer the seclusion of an anchorage to a dock, but more privacy than this would be difficult to find.
4/26/12, Company
Perhaps a hundred geese and goslings roamed the grassy slopes, but we didn’t see another person the entire time there.
4/26/12, Sunset
Sunset viewed from the cockpit.
4/27/12, 5:28am: Snake River Mile 20
4/27/12: Dawn
4/27/12, 5:28am: Bluff
4/27/12: Tresle
4/27/12: Ruins
Probably the remains of a long-past railway stop
4/27/12, 7:53am: Farrington
Tug Clearwater on the dock at Farrington.
4/27/12: Lower Monumental Dam
They’re spilling a lot of water today.
4/27/12: Fish ladders
Fish ladder between the Lower Monumental dam and lock
4/27/12: Deschutes
Tug Deschutes working against the eddies coming out of Lower Monumental lock.
4/27/12: Approaching locks
The current is strong even alongside the seawall.
4/27/12: Bit track
Looking up to the top of the lock along the bit track.
4/27/12: Gate almost down
4/27/12, 10:00am: Snake River Mile 46
Just passed through the Lower Monumental lock. We’re now at 540′ above sea level.
4/27/12: Fender wash
Power-washing the fenders in the boat wake. The fenders get covered in dirt and debris from the lock walls.
4/27/12: Wall debris
A fender tore a two-square-foot slab off the wall as we ascended, leaving chunks of debris on the rubrail.
4/27/12: Bluff
The Snake River is narrow and more intimate-feeling than the Columbia. And the scenery is spectacular.
4/27/12: Survey vessel
Survey vessel working the river. It’s a lot smaller than the NOAA or CHS survey ships we see in saltwater.
4/27/12: Union Pacific Railroad Bridge
Built in 1914, this bridge reportedly is the highest working trestle bridge in the country.
4/27/12, 1:00pm: Approaching Little Goose dam
Fish ladder in front of Little Goose dam. We’ll be locking through in about 20 minutes.
4/27/12: Gate arm
Massive hydraulic arm to move the gates.
4/27/12: Spitfire
Spitfire looking concerned. He wasn’t scared in the locks, but he wasn’t entirely comfortable either.
4/27/12: Transformers
High-voltate power transformers above the dam.
4/27/12, 2:43pm: Little Goose Bay
Anchored for the night in a cozy cove, with steep slopes, and cows, on both sides.
4/27/12: Cows
We’ve heard a lot of different noises in an anchorage, but never cows mooing. Spitfire is not quite sure what to make of it.
4/28/12: Dawn
4/28/12: Morning sun
4/28/12, 7:25am: Snake River Mile 90
4/28/12: Pelicans
Our Pacific Northwest bird book says that American White Pelicans are rare. But not along the Snake River. We’ve seen more White Pelicans than seagulls.
4/28/12: Coyote
4/28/12: Boyer Marina
Strong current outside Boyer Marina, a mile and a half downstream of Lower Granite Lock and Dam.
4/28/12: Buoy 48
Buoy 48, right below the dam, was almost completely submerged.
4/28/12: Lower Granite Lock and Dam
This is where all that current is coming from: major discharge here too.
4/28/12: Gates closing
A final view to the hills west of the locks before the gates close. The nice weather has returned and stuck with us.
4/28/12: Upwelling
The upwelling from the water entering the locks was more obvious here than at other locks.
4/28/12: Lockmaster
4/28/12, 10:20am: 738′ above sea level
The gate is back up behind us. We’re through the last of the 8 locks and now are at 738′ above sea level.
4/28/12: Go Cougs!
Washington State University Cougars rowing meet.
4/28/12, 2:15pm: Clearwater River, Idaho
Port of Lewiston, Idaho crane along the Clearwater River. We made it!
4/28/12, 2:40pm: Clarkston Public Dock
Moored at a city of Clarkston public dock for the night.
4/28/12: Roosters Restaurant
A celebratory meal on the deck at Roosters Restaurant above the public dock. The food was excellent, with a sweeping view up and down river.
4/28/12: Dusk


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