Columbia River

Sauvie Island river surf

North of Portland, you will find Sauvie Island, a stretch of land that is both a fish and wildlife area and superb farmland. About 30 mammals can be found here, not to mention dozens of different bird species. Today I spied osprey to egrets. It is also a layover spot for migratory birds on their passages north and south.

One of the nicest sections of this popular getaway from Portland are the beaches that line the Columbia River. No doubt Native Americans fished and hunted here for thousands of years. Today, you will find residents from the Portland area trying to stay cool.

The sandy stretches are superb. You can see the freighter traffic pass by, to the ports of Portland and Vancouver, where there are large grain silos and shipping docks. When the big ships pass by, they of course leave some powerful wakes that create micro surf on the beach. It is a pretty fun thing to do on a hot day, and everyone I saw was having a great time.

(Click on each photo to see a larger picture on a separate picture page.)


It’s all about the grain, and the global marketplace

Vancouver, Wash., is home to the United Grain Corp.’s export terminal. According to the company, the grain elevator complex is the largest grain elevator on the West Coast. This is a massive facility. The complex dominates the landscape on the banks of the Columbia River north of Portland. Cargo ships will line up on the Columbia River and basically park in the river until there is a berth for at the terminal or across the river at the Port of Portland’s export terminal on the Willamette River. Wheat grown in western Washington is one of the main exports, mainly for global markets.

I took the photos of the anchored cargo vessels from Frenchman’s Bar Park, in Clark County, just north of Vancouver. It is a beautiful spot to see how the global commodities market works–one ship and one train at a time.

No stick is too big when playing fetch

Hot diggity. I love finding a beautiful new place that is ignored by the busy world and destination tourism. Frenchman’s Bar Park is such a place, in Clark County, Washington, just north of Vancouver. The park lies along the Columbia River, and many fishermen, dog owners, and families can be found on the sandy banks. I loved this mutt. He didn’t understand the meaning of, you can’t fetch that. He just did it. Good boy!

The mighty and beautiful Columbia River, from Vista House

Vista House has one of the best views in the United States, at least for those who want to drive to their viewpoints. I love this perch, and I have been coming here now for more than 30 years. (The fun part was singing happy birthday to Vista House with other visitors and the Oregon State Parks crew, who were giving out free birthday cake. Vista House is 96 years old as of today.)