Saturday, May 7, 2011

It Never Rains on a Haynie Field Trip

I love getting my students out of the classroom and into the real world. One of my favorite field trips is to the site of our Oregon Literature novel, Ricochet River. The book is set in Estacada, a small town about 30 miles up the Clackamas River from here. My students always think it's weird to go to Estacada on a field trip...What's in Estacada? they ask...and I tell them, "Just wait and see."

Tuesday we went up the river, and the weather held. Given the fact that we're stuck in a record-breaking cycle of big spongy clouds that blow in from the ocean and squeeze all kinds of moisture down on us, that was a minor miracle. But then, it never rains on a Haynie field trip. I should let the weather forecasters know when I schedule the busses...it would make their lives so much easier for those dates!

 60 kids - ready to walk from the busses down to the fish trap at the base of the Cazadero Dam, just upstream from Faraday Power Station.

 Keith Eicher, the PGE "Dam Guy" was our tour guide. He's great with the kids.

 The PGE biologist, Garth, down in the fish trap with the salmon. They sort every single fish before allowing them to go on upstream via the fish ladder. Only the native (wild) stock are allowed to go upstream. The hatchery stock are trucked back to the lake for the fishermen.

 Can you see the fish down in the fish trap? Those are BIG salmon!

 The start of the fish ladder to North Fork dam - it's the longest fish ladder in the world, almost 2 miles long.

Up on the top of North Fork Dam. It's a long way down! Some of the kids get a little spooked by the heights. But I think it's really important for them to get a better understanding of this important element of our Pacific Northwest energy infrastructure. The rivers are an integral part of the novel, Ricochet River, and they are an integral part of our lives here, but I think a lot of the teens (probably adults, too) take all that for granted. Getting them out on the river helps make it all more real for them.

Next we were off to Rivermill Dam, the oldest dam on the Clackamas River (1911!). We will actually be going inside this one. But first we had to walk the catwalks along the fish ladder to get to the entrance.

 Past the turbines...

 ...and into the dam!


 It's spooky in here! And dark! How far down below the water are we???

Agghh!! Now the kids understand how the main character feels during the scene in the book that takes place inside the dam!

 Ahh...after being inside the dam, a picnic lunch next to the lake feels just about right. Even if it is the setting for the climax scene in the book, which is pretty sad.

 We drove by the pond that is the setting for the "mill pond" in the book, and we were delighted to discover that it has been transformed into a lovely park.

 With play equipment! Who says that high school seniors are too old to play. (Little kids in the front, waiting for the BIG little kids to get back on the bus.)

We toured a few more spots in Estacada that are the settings for different scenes in the book, and then we went back to school. It threatened to rain all day, but the rain held off, except for a few drips just as we were leaving North Fork Dam (which was great timing - it made the kids hurry back to the bus - heehee).

What a life...I get paid to take kids out to the river!

4 comments:

Dorothy said...

Is anyone ever too old for a field trip and a chance to play? I don't think so! Good job, Mrs. Haynie...I think I know who enjoys these outings most of all. :)

Sarah Maughan said...

I'm pretty jealous of that field trip. That would've been awesome! Great photos! I love the last one the most. Those little kids look pretty annoyed. hahaha

Annemarie said...

Keith and Garth, all those photos . . . brings back a host of memories for me. I was happy to continue that field trip tradition while I taught Oregon Lit Present--and even happier that you have picked it up again. Is Robin coming to talk to your class this spring?

George Kramer said...

Hello... would you mind if I used one of your images in a compliance report, to be submitted to the State of Oregon? I am historian working on a project for PGE.