Columbia River Gorge with Vista House on Crown Point. The Vista House on Crown Point is 725 feet above Interstate Highway 84. The photo was taken from a viewpoint off the Columbia River Scenic Highway which winds parallel to the freeway high on the Oregon side of the scenic gorge. Photo is from the Oregon Department of Transportation, photo number: 8439.
The Columbia River rises east of the Pacific Mountains and is the only one which cuts its way across them to the ocean. The salmon fisheries of the Columbia are the most valuable in the United States and many million dollars' worth of salmon are taken every year. These fish are of an especially fine variety known as the chinook or quammat salmon. The shores of the river above and below Astoria are lined with great establishments for curing and canning salmon, and shipping the product to all parts of the world. The fish wheels are not used near the mouth of the river, but near the cascades, where the river is narrow and the rapids force the fish close to the banks, where the wheels take them in enormous quantities. The meshes of the nets catch the fish at the gills and prevent their escape. The number of salmon that ascend the Columbia seems beyond reckoning. They are found by thousands at the great falls of the Snake River, 600 miles from the sea and in Clark's Fork at a still greater distance.
The dalles in the Columbia river compelled Lewis and Clark to make a portage- that is carry their canoes and supplies around the rough water. Judson says 'At Celilo Falls, again at The Dalles and again at the Cascade Rapids, they had to carry their boats and all their baggage.' A party of Astor's men did the same thing in reverse order, when after the building the first fort at Astoria in 1811, they ascended the river and built a log shelter at Okanogan before the winter came on.
The old Indian legend held that the cascades here were formed when a great earthquake destroyed the 'Bridge of the Gods' which at one time, according to tradition, spanned the Columbia at this place. Of course, this is not accepted today, but it is easy to understand how such a legend was evolved. Our picture shows the cascades at a period far below the high water mark. The fall of the river through the cascades is about 40 feet.
Here is the other rock, located a little farther up the river and on the opposite side from Rooster Rock. The story runs that two Indian chiefs wooed the same maiden who kept them both in suspense. Finally the two chiefs quarrled, each blaming the maiden's delay on the other. The quarrel grew so bitter that the gods took a hand in the matter, changed each chief into a rock and seperated them by permitting the waters of the Columbia between them. The maiden also was punished by being transformed into the Horsetail Waterfall, 'ever escaping up the hill with her hair trailing behind, but never getting away'.