After completing the first hike today toward my goal of Sixty Before Sixty (sixty hikes before my sixtieth birthday) through the grounds of the Northern State Recreation Area (see Hike #1 – Northern State Recreation Area) in Sedro Woolley, I drove on to the town of Concrete for a visit to one of my favorite places, the Lower Baker Dam. Just before the turn off for the road leading up to the Lower Baker Dam, we cross the Baker River by driving over this bridge. It is one of my favorite bridges in all of Skagit County.
I like to go directly to viewing area for the Lower Baker Dam first to get a good look at the dam before I go on and do more exploring in the area. I find it to be such an impressive wall of concrete when I stand there and look out to the dam. My father worked on some rehab jobs there when I was a young child. I was so little that I do not recall exactly what it was exactly that he did at the Lower Baker Dam (something to do with construction and often with concrete), but to this day, it feels good to stand there and see something of such mass that he was a part of.
Of course, a dam like this, at 285 feet high along a river like the Baker would pose an impossible hurdle for the lifecycle of salmon as they fight their way back up stream to their breading grounds each year, so the operators of the dam, Puget Sound Energy, were faced with solving this problem. Their solution, quite an elaborate Fish Taxi!
What happens is, the fish are trapped by being directed to swim into a holding tank. Once the tank has filled with enough fish, they are pumped out of the holding tank and into a large, portable tank on the back of a flatbed truck. Then, the tank full of fish are driven (taxied!) up the road, around the dam, and released back into the river. So continues the life cycle of the salmon!