Thursday, June 10, 2021

Dam Memories Of The Upper Skagit Valley


This blog post goes into the category of things seen on venues, like Facebook, which make me homesick for my old home zone of Washington.

What you see above is known as the Upper Skagit Valley.

Eventually the Skagit Valley flattens out into a wide fertile plain, known as the Skagit Flats. It is on the Skagit Flats, in Burlington, I spent my formative years.

As the Facebook poster posts, there are three dams on the Skagit River.

Ross Dam, Diablo Dam and Gorge Dam.

Of the three, the only one easy to see is Diablo Dam. You can drive across Diablo Dam. The switchbacks to get to the dam, and then its crossing, is a fun adventure. I think, if I remember right, the last time I did this was a long time ago, with Betty Jo Bouvier, in my now antique 65 Ford Mustang.

The Skagit River dam shown above is Gorge Dam. I do not recollect if I have ever seen this dam. If you watched the Warren Beatty movie, Parallax View, this was the dam which released a lot of water, almost drowning Shirley MacLaine's little brother.

What is now known as the North Cross State Highway is to the left of the view you see above. This is the highway which crosses through North Cascades National Park on its way to Eastern Washington.

The only time I have seen Ross Dam in person was on an 8th grade field trip. We got off the trip bus in Newhalem, had lunch and toured the Seattle City Light facility, including the building which housed the turbines which made electricity from the water flowing from Gorge Dam.

After lunch in Newhalem we took a funicular up a steep incline to a road. I recollect this seemed scary, treacherous, and a lot of fun. As long as I lived in Washington this was a free touristy thing provided by Seattle City Light. I do not know if such is still the case.

From the top of the funicular we walked as a group to the lake behind Diablo Dam, where we boarded a boat which took us to Ross Dam, for a tour.

This was decades ago, I shudder to count the years. But, I remember it as if it were yesterday.

Sometimes it is a curse to be blessed with a razor sharp memory.

Other times I feel quite blessed, remembering things I find others have forgotten...

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