Why I love the ballard locks

The Hiram Chittenden locks as they are officially know, is one of my favorite spots Seattle. Why? Well, for one, it’s noisy. But not in the usual ways. Besides the rushing water, there are boat horns, and people are always calling 12322727_184659975218574_6230118208411956963_oas they throw lines and secure their boats to the chambers. And of course, there’s the noise of the all visitors and seagulls who are hanging around watching the action. Then there’s the smell. Even though the rushing water is fresh, it smell like salt. And the chamber walls are lush with seaweed. During spawning season you can see salmon jumping. To me, the surrounding ships, boat yards and neighborhoods are almost as beautiful as the garden park that surrounds the locks. The salmon ladder itself is on the opposite side of the locks, and you have to walk over the spillway to get there. Of course, you can always look from above, but you won’t be able to see much. If yo want to see salmon climbing the ladder, you have to go underground. From a bunker-like chamber you can see a few tall windows with greenish water. These windows show a few of the 20-something steps the salmon must ascend to reach the fresh water of their birth. All that, so they can spawn and die. What’s not to love? When I was a kid, my grandma always took me to the locks. We’d get some some fish and chips at a local stand. Then we’d spend an afternoon at the locks, just watching the traffic.


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