Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Remarkable Sacagawea, a Dog and Bonneville Dam

Location: Ainsworth State Park (El. 100 ft); Cascades Lock, Oregon

(click pictures to enlarge)
(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 Cell Phone)

It has been raining on and off with wintry mix thrown in just to keep things interesting. The cold front passed through in the early afternoon and the temperature should drop to the lower 40's/upper 30's tonight. Tomorrow is moving day with hopes of getting to a dryer and warmer climate. The move will be to a town called Redmond, Oregon located between the Cascade Mountains and the high desert of the Central Oregon. The weather forecast calls for a low in the mid 20's there on Wednesday night but then much warmer for days afterwards. I will be there for 3 or 4 days before heading farther south. I'm still hoping to be able to see Crater Lake before leaving Oregon.

I was able to see a few things in between showers late yesterday evening and then again today when I went into town to gas up for tomorrows trip. There are a few nice statues in the Marine Park located in Cascades Lock. The first one is of a cougar entitled "Silent Descent".

Silent Descent

The other statue is of Sacagawea and Seaman. I have seen several representations of Sacagawea at different towns on my trips but the one at this park is the best so far. 

Sacagawea was born the daughter of a Shoshone Chief but was kidnapped when she was about 10 years old by the rival Indian tribe of Hidatsa. The Shosone lived in the area of the Bitter Root Mountains in what is now Idaho and the Hidatsa lived in the upper Missouri River area of present day North Dakota/South Dakota. After being kidnapped she was later sold to a French Canadian trapper who she ended up marrying. His name was Toussaint Charbonneau. Sacagawea was in her late teens when she gave birth to her son John-Baptiste. He was born about the same time that Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery was passing through the Hidatsa territory and their friendly neighbors the Mandans. They were in need of an interpreter to accompany them on their trip to the west coast and wanted to hire Charbonneau. Charbonneau agreed but stipulated that his wife, Sacagawea, and their son would also go along. John-Baptiste was 8 weeks old when the group departed for parts unknown and was carried on the back of Sacagawea in a cradle board. The group followed the Missouri River upstream until they reached its headwaters near the Bitter Root Mountains. It was there they sought out the Shoshone tribe to negotiate for horses that could be used to cross the mountains so they could reach the headwaters of the Columbia River which would carry them to the coast. 

It was during the Shonshone negotiations that a strange coincidence occurred. Sacagawea was part of the negotiations as an interpreter. It was there that she recognized her brother who was now the Chief of the Shonshone. She could have stayed with the Shonshone but she didn't, she continued on with the party as they crossed the mountains and went to the Pacific Ocean. 

Sacagawea and Charbonneau stayed with Lewis and Clark until they reached the Hidatsa/Mandan villages on their return trip. Both Lewis and Clark said Sacagawea was invaluable to trip. Six years after the trip she gave birth to a daughter named Lissette. About a year after her birth it is thought that Sacagawea died of some disease. It is unclear what actually happened to her and some people believe she lived to a ripe old age. What is known is that her son John-Baptiste and Lissette were sent to St. Louis to be raised by Clark. He had taken a shine to John-Baptiste during the trip and offered to raise him but was turned down by Sacagawea at that time. Something changed her mind after Lissette was born. Some people believe she became sick and knew that the kids would have a better life with Clark and sent them to him. Lissette died as a child not long after arriving in St. Louis. John-Baptiste became highly educated and even visited the capitols of Europe. 

Sacagawea with John-Baptiste on her back. The dog alongside her is Seaman, a Newfoundland Dog. Lewis bought it in Pennsylvania for $20.00 and he made the entire trips as well.
 The nearest town is Cascades Lock about 8 miles to the west. Cascades Lock got its name from the navigation lock built to by-pass the Cascade Rapids. Remember the post from a couple days ago about the Bridge of the Gods? The dirt one created by the landslide, not the modern day one. Well, when the dam that was created by the landslide washed away, what was left behind was a series of whitewater rapids with large boulders scattered everywhere. They were impassable by boat which required river traffic to portage around the rapids. This was very time consuming because everything had to be unloaded from the boat, carried around the rapids then reloaded on the boat. To solve this problem, a lock was built in 1896 across the land near where the portage took place. This allowed boats to enter the lock and be lifted or lowered before exiting the locks on the other side of the rapids. A town grew up around the locks and for the lack of imagination, they named the town, Cascades Lock. The town and the old lock is still there, although not in use anymore. 
From the walking bridge across the Cascade Lock looking downstream. The bridge in the distance is the Bridge of the Gods.

Looking upstream from the walking bridge. Notice the platform and net used to catch Salmon. 
The construction of the Bonneville Lock and Dam in 1938 eliminated the need for the Cascade Lock by submerging the rapids under the water impounded by the dam. Bonneville was the first of many hydroelectric dams with navigation locks on the Columbia River. It was a very big deal in these parts since the Great Depression hit this area hard and the unemployment rate skyrocketed. The lock that was built as part of the dam was the largest single lift lock in the world at the time. It has a 60 foot vertical capacity. The other unusual thing about this dam is that it incorporated "fish ladders" to allow fish, such as Salmon, to go upstream to spawn.

This is the number 1 powerhouse that was originally built with the dam.

The downsteam gate of the lock. Notice what appears to be the emergency closure blocks to the right.

One of the powerhouses

View from the top of the visitors center. To the left is the dam with gates open, the center is impeller from one of the powerhouses. 

The fish ladder

You can see the fish as they pass through the fish ladder. They are counted and sorted by fish type. I only saw two pass while I was there but was not quick enough to get a picture.

A nice bench to view the river downstream of the dam

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 


  1. Port of Cascade Locks is one of our favorite campgrounds. Glad you enjoyed your time in the surrounding area.

    1. Hello Betty.
      It is a very pretty place around here. Lots of rain while I've been here, but still nice