Monday, August 10, 2009

We toured the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks today in Seattle and really enjoyed the area! These locks connect Lake Washington to the Puget Sound so that the freshwater lake connects with the saltwater sound. Run by the Army Corps of Engineers, the area also includes a fish ladder and a botanical gardens.

There are two locks available -- one 150' long lock and one 825' lock that can house very large vessels -- or LOTS of smaller ones. We watched many boats lock through in the couple hours we were there.

In addition to the locks, we were able to watch the salmon swim upstream, through the fish ladder. As you can see from the photo above, hundreds of salmon are waiting to swim up the ladder and enter Lake Washington.

The ladder had some windows in the wall so that we could see the salmon as they moved upstream. Wow -- wish I could catch this one -- it looks to be about 2' long.

Rick is watching the large lock fill with boats as they are ready to lift up to the lake level (about 15' higher). This is quite a delicate process since each boat has to be tied up correctly and be ready to handle the lines for the lift. It was fun to watch the various skippers carefully move their boats into position -- some with less skill than others!

After about 30 minutes of loading, the boats are ready to be lifted. I would guess there are about 50 boats of all sizes waiting to go up!

We also enjoyed the Botanical Gardens where we strolled through many beautiful flowers. Not sure what they were, but we really liked seeing them. This free attraction is a great place to spend a few hours!

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