It is mesmerizing to be on the viewing side of a fish ladder, watching a huge salmon resting briefly before resuming a long journey upriver to the stream of her birth.  I had flown out to Portland, Oregon, then taken the train up to Seattle to see my older sister and meet a nephew I had never seen before.  It is a long story.  We humans undertake many trips for family reasons, and this was simply the latest in a long line.  The fish ladder was at Hiram Chittenden Locks, built in 1911.   The locals know them as the Ballard locks, for the town adjacent to the area.  They connect Puget Sound with Lake Washington.


The locks offer a fascinating glimpse back to the time when the infrastructure of the United States was being built, when choices were made that would play out for centuries.




The journey out West was tiring but rewarding, despite the gate changes in Philly and the traffic in Seattle.  I had a chance to get acquainted with Roger and his gracious wife, Margaret, to renew contact with my sister, Cindy and spend time with my son, Dolan, Renee and their two active children— Lucas and Zooey.



An unexpected highlight was the adult Soapbox derby race on the slopes of Mount Tabor in Portland.  The weather was perfect and the crowd was enthusiastic.  Some of the drivers were going for speed, but quite a few had obviously built their contraptions with other intentions.




I did a fair amount of cycling around Portland, watched over a taekwondo class, enjoyed a walk in the woods and helped land a few trout when the family decided to try their casts at a fish farm.  There were some that didn’t get away.