On Sunday, Hubby and I went to our very favorite park, Tumwater Falls Park in Olympia, which is a long way from our home in Everett. The park was closed much of last year, but has now re-opened, and we could hardly wait to get there! Well, the park looked even better than it did the last time we went there. They had obviously taken the opportunity to do some upgrading while the park was closed, and we were thrilled. The first thing we noticed was the upgraded fish tanks. The park participates in salmon-breeding for the state, and they added fish-viewing tanks, so you can see the little salmon fry, swimming against the current. When they are big enough, they will be released into the Deschutes River, to make their way to the ocean, where they will grow until they swim back up the river to spawn in a few years. Here are some. The kids really liked watching them, and so did I!
Now, Tumwater Falls Park gets its name from…wait for it…Tumwater Falls! The falls are on the Deschutes River, on the grounds of the old Olympia Brewery. There are obviously the Big Falls, and there are also smaller falls. So, let’s take a walk down the path, and look at all the falls in the park. First, you get to the Upper Falls, which are at the widest part of the river here.
If you walk a little way down the path, you can see that the main falls is not all of it. Off to the side, there are some smaller cataracts. Can you count all five little falls?
A little farther down, you come to the Upper-middle falls, where the river takes a bend. Notice the big tree in the middle of the falls. Also, notice how clear the water is, on the far right side.
A few steps farther, and you see the Middle Falls, where there used to be a grist-mill in the early 1900s.
At the bottom of this picture, you can see the old concrete fish-ladders, so the salmon can make their way upstream a little easier. They were built at the time of the grist-mill and power plant that was here in the 1920s. Now, on our way down the path we came upon another little waterfall, that probably does not have a name, because the water does not come from the river itself. I just had to take some video of this “Little Falls”, because it was coming from above us, and cascading down a “green wall” covering the rocks. Most of the noise is the big falls in the background.
Maybe it should be called “Fairy Falls”, because you almost think a fairy must have designed it.
Finally on this side of the river, you come to the Lower Falls, which are under a nice bridge across the river to the path up the opposite bank. But before we get there, how about another video, taken from the bridge above the lower falls? See the two birds by the river bank? They are Dippers! The river here has a bunch of great Dipper hunting grounds-they catch insects in the fast-flowing water.
Now, here’s a photo of the Lower Falls. See also, the rhododendron bush growing among the evergreens.
On the side of the Lower Falls, closer to the path, are some side-falls, where you can easily see how the running water has worn away the rocks. That’s how water gradually eats away at mountains.
So, we crossed the bridge to the opposite bank of the river to go back to the top. Along that path, we saw a bunch more little waterfalls.
Next to the one above, you can see a beautiful azalea bush, and just the tip of another rhododendron (the Washington State flower).
Finally, we made it back to the top of the falls, and the new administration building. This sign is brand new.
So, for us, it sure was The Water!