Every fall, the landlocked Kokanee Salmon change colors from green/silver to this red color (kind of like koi), and make their way up the Little Bear River to spawn. I first heard about this phenomenon several years ago, but this year (thanks to Heather's cousins letting us hone in on their homeschool field trip, and Grandma Cantwell being our navigator and tour guide) I was finally able to see it for myself. So interesting! So fun! Such a treat!
We went on the 18th of September, and I think we hit it just about right. From what I've read, it seems that the spawning is usually finished up by the end of September or first of October.
Our first stop was this little waterfall:
You can't see it, but there are probably thirty or forty salmon in the dark areas there, all trying to get up that waterfall. Every once in awhile, you'll see one take the (literal) leap of faith up the rapid, and probably about one out of ten or fifteen times, one of them makes it up into the waters above. We stayed here probably fifteen or twenty minutes, and I think I saw four or five make it up. We always cheered (semi-softly) when they did. I also saw one or two make it, then hang out for a little bit too long at the mouth of the mini-fall until it got sucked back down into the churning water below, where it had to make the trek again. Talk about discouraging!
(For the fish, not so much for me.)
Most of the people pictures I've taken here are of Heather and the backs of the cousins, for privacy reasons. If you are in the family and want to see more of them, you can check out the private Heather blog, where I've got more full-faced, "up close and personal" shots posted.
Speaking of full-faced shots:
|Heather's currently in a "duck face for pictures" phase. I don't really know why, and it drives me a little bit crazy, but really, does it matter all that much? No. Not a battle I'm choosing to fight.|
After our stop on the mini-fall, we made our way up the gravel road, stopping here and there along the way to see how many salmon had made it to any given spot in the river.
It was a beautiful day, with gorgeous scenery. For some reason I took zero pictures of the beautiful fall leaves, which is a shame, because they were absolutely stunning, but I did get this lovely little stream, so not all is lost now, is it?
|Love these girls.|
It was a uniquely pleasant adventure. As we got further up the stream, we came upon two different beaver dams, both of which were in the process of being dismantled by the Division of Wildlife Resources, for the simple reason that they make it impossible for the salmon to travel up river, and if they can't get up to the spawning spot, they will all die out, and sooner rather than later. The beavers are quite industrious and resourceful though, and so the DWR employees have their work cut out for them to say the least. You can see part of the dam in the upper right-hand corner of this picture below. Dams aren't as picturesque as autumn tree leaves surrounded by salmon though, so it is not the dam that is the focus of my final shot here.
You knew from the moment you first read the title that I was going to say this sometime, didn't you??
Well, here it is:
I LOVE living in Cache Valley.
Should you want to experience the salmon run yourself (next year), here's a link to some pretty thorough and clear directions on how to get there.