Posted by: Columbia River | July 22, 2010

Dalles Dam – Hood River

Paddling through the night Paul wanted nothing more than to be as far away from the John Day Dam as possible. Reaching the Dalles Dam in the early hours of the morning, he lied on the cat exhausted from the incident at John Day as well as the miles covered since then. It was during these miles in the middle of the night that he passed over the now drowned Celilo Falls.

“The name refers to a series of cascades and waterfalls on the river, as well as to the native settlements and trading villages that existed there in various configurations for 15,000 years. Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community on the North American continent until 1957, when the falls and nearby settlements were submerged by the construction of The Dalles Dam.”

Celilo Narrows

Celilo Narrows

Celilo is now gone, another resource drowned by “progress”.

Around 9am, Paul made his way up the road to where the dam administrative offices were located to ask how to go about portaging the dam. Unfortunately, once again there was no one around to speak with. Eventually, he gave up and began walking back to the cataraft. Just as Paul made his way back to the main gates a Park Ranger vehicle pulled up and one of the Army Corps of Engineers who had helped him at John Day got out. He looked surprised to see Paul at the Dalles but gave advice on how to portage the dam. Paul returned to the cat and paddled the 1/2 mile to a boat ramp on river right of the locks.

Dalles Dam Lockage Instructions - Not an option.

Dalles Dam Lockage Instructions - Not an option.

Reaching the boat ramp, Paul was optimistic about finding a ride around the dam. Most of the day passed and eventually it was obvious that he wasn’t going to be able to find a ride.

Barges increasing in size.



Sitting on the dock Paul called Lana who was in Hood River. About an hour later she was at the Dam and the portage began.

Dalles Dam - Photo: Lana Young.

Dalles Dam - Photo Lana Young.

Deflating the tubes and tying the rack and oars to the roof the team made their way around the dam and located a downriver boat ramp. Pulling out all the gear, inflating the tubes, and attaching the frame; the cat was once again ready to head downriver. Just as the sun set he waved goodbye to Lana and Jessica and made his way down the Columbia.

Lana & Jessica helping w/ the portage.

Lana & Jessica helping w/ the portage.

Around another Dam - The Dalles.

Around another Dam - The Dalles.

Downstream of the Dalles Dam. Photo: Lana Young.

Downstream of the Dalles Dam. Photo: Lana Young

After sitting most the day Paul was eager to begin making miles. Around two or three in the morning he spotted a bridge in the distance. The Hood River bridge was coming into sight.

Another bridge, another milestone, another night on the Columbia.

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