Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Hamilton Island, Washington"
Includes ... Hamilton Island ... "Strawberry Island" ... Hamilton Slough ... Hamilton Creek ... Fish Hatchery ... Wildlife Ponds ...
Image, 2006, Hamilton Island looking towards Hamilton Mountain, click to enlarge
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Looking across Hamilton Island, Washington, towards Hamilton Mountain. Image taken July 2, 2006.


Hamilton Island and Hamilton Creek ...
Hamilton Island lies along the Washington shoreline of the Columbia River, upstream of Pierce and Ives Islands and Beacon Rock, and downstream of Bonneville Dam and the former Cascade Rapids. Hamilton Island use to be an island, however it is now landlocked. In the 1970s the upper part of "Hamilton Slough", bordering the northeast side of Hamilton Island, was filled in with debris from the construction of Bonneville's North Powerhouse. The lower part of Hamilton Slough became part of Hamilton Creek, which borders the west and northwest side of Hamilton Island. On the east and south is the Columbia River. The city of North Bonneville lies on the northeast side of Hamilton Island. Lewis and Clark called the island "Strawberry Island". Hamilton Island is home to the Fort Cascades Historic Site.

Lewis and Clark and "Strawberry Island" ...
In 1805 Lewis and Clark call the island "Strawberry Island" after the many vines covering the ground.
"... immediately below this rapid the high water passes through a narrow Chanel through the Stard. Bottom forming an Island of 3 miles <wide> Long & one wide, I walked through this Island which I found to be verry rich land, and had every appearance of haveing been at Some distant period Cultivated. at this time it is Covered with grass intersperced with Strawberry vines. I observed Several places on this Island where the nativs had dug for roots ..." [Clark, October 31, 1805]

"... passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side, and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side opposit Straw berry Island, which heads below the last rapid. ..." [Clark, November 2, 1805]
The "high Island" on the left is Bradford Island and the "Small Creek" on the left opposite Hamilton Island is Tanner Creek.

Early Hamilton Island ...
Hamilton Island and Hamilton Creek (and nearby Hamilton Mountain) were all named for Samuel M. Hamilton of Lower Cascades, who took a Donation Land Claim on the Hamilton Creek in 1850.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records, show a Samuel M. Hamilton being issued a land title on September 20, 1870, parts of T2N R7E Sections 29 and 30, under the 1862 "Homestead Entry Original".

The 1910 "Railroad Commission Map of Washington" shows a Washington community of "Hamilton".

The 1911 U.S. Geological Survey's "Mount Hood and Vicinity" topographic map shows "Hamilton I.".


Bonneville Landslide ...
Hamilton Island, along with Pierce and Ives islands are remnants of the Bonneville Landslide which temporarily blocked the Columbia River and was birth to the legend of the Bridge of the Gods.
[More]

Views ...

Image, 2005, Strawberry Island Trail sign, click to enlarge
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Strawberry Island Trail sign, Hamilton Island. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2004, Hamilton Island looking towards the Columbia River, Oregon side, click to enlarge
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Lissa traversing Hamilton Island, 199 years after Captain Clark. Image taken August 1, 2004.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Hamilton Island, Washington. Looking upstream at the Columbia River. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Hamilton Island, Washington. Looking downstream at the Columbia River. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2003, Hamilton Mountain and Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Hamilton Island, Washington, with Hamilton Mountain in the background. View from Bonneville Dam, Oregon side. Image taken October 25, 2003.


Hamilton Island, etc.

  • Bonneville Dam ...
  • Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility and "Outfall" ...
  • Columbia River Basalt Group ...
  • Fort Cascades Historic Site ...
  • Salmon Fishing ...
  • Strawberry Island ...
  • Views from Hamilton Island ...


Bonneville Dam ...
The Bonneville Dam is a hydroelectric dam built across three islands - Robins, Bradford, and Cascade - at Columbia River Mile (RM) 146. Once known as the "Cascade Rapids", this area was a major obstacle to navigation on the Columbia. The Rapids were a result of the Bonneville Landslide, a massive landslide which gave rise to the legend of the Bridge of the Gods.
[More]

Image, 2009, Bonneville Dam, on the Columbia River, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Dam as seen from Hamilton Island. Bonneville Dam as seen from Hamilton Island, accessed from Washington State Highway 14. Image taken February 7, 2009.


Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility and "Outfall" ...
The Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility is located near the eastern end of Hamilton Island. The system is a bypass to direct juvenile fish around the Bonneville Dam's turbines. The facilities also enable researchers to monitor the number and condition of the young fish.

Outfall
Juvenile salmon (smolts) enter the bypass system on the upstream face of the pwerhouse. The smolts are carried down stream by a flume to the outfall exit where they reenter the river. The location of the outfall gives smolts an edge over predators. Here, strong currents prevent predators such as Northern Pikeminnow and Walleye from holding position and preying upon smolts returning to the river. Hydro cannons located on each outfall spray jets of water up to 150 feet, deterring gulls, tern and other predatory birds from feeding on the smolts as they exit the pipe and head downstream to the ocean."


Source:    Information sign, Juvenile Fish Bypass Monitoring Facility, visited 2014.

[More]

Image, 2017, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island. A wildlife pond is on the left. Table Mountain rises in the background. Image taken July 17, 2017.
Image, 2011, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island. A wildlife pond is on the left. Aldrich Butte and Table Mountain rise in the background. Image taken May 20, 2011.
Image, 2014, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Information sign, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2006, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Outfall, Bonneville Juvenile Fish Monitoring Facility, Hamilton Island. Image taken April 7, 2014.


Columbia River Basalt Group ...
"Flood basalts of the Miocene Columbia River Basalt Gorup (CRBG) are among the most volumninous and far-traveled lava flows on earth. About 10% of the basalt flows that erupted on the Columbia Plateau between 17 and 12 Ma were voluminous enough to pass through the Cascade arc via a wide ancestral Columbia River valley, and some of them eventually reached the Pacific Ocean. Some of the larger flows invaded the marine strata, forming mega-invasive flows on the continental shelf and slope. ...

The basic geologic framework of the Columbia River Gorge has been known for over a century. In the western gorge, the package of Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) flood-basalt flows unconformably overlies volcanogenic rocks of ancestral Cascade volcanic arc. Vigorous and widespread volcanism characterized the arc from its inception 40 Ma until ca. 18 Ma, when activity greatly declines. The arc must have been relatively quiescent during emplacement of the most voluminous CRBG flows, because interflow volcanic sediments are sparse. The larger flows passed through a 50-km-wide ancestral Columbia River valley on their way to the ocean. Owing to late Cenozoic uplift of the Cascade Range and resultant incision by the Columbia River, CRBG flows are now spectacularly exposed in the cliffs and waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge. The modern gorge roughly follows the northern margin of the broad Miocene valley. Grande Ronde flows clearly abut the northern paleovalley wall formed by early Miocene volcaniclastic rocks of the 19 Ma Eagle Creek Formation. ...

The slight southward dip of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) section and the underlying Eagle Creek Formation gives the western gorge an asymmetric physiographic cross section. In Washington, failure of weakly lithified Eagle Creek strata that dip toward the river under the load of superincumbent basalt has produced huge landslide complexes composed largely of CRBG debris. In Oregon, where strata dip away from the river, undercutting of the Eagle Creek Formation instead creates towering cliffs. As a result, the CRBG section south of the river consists of continuous cliffs, whereas to the north the CRBG forms scattered peaks (Greenleaf Peak, Table Mountain, Hamilton Mountain, and Archer Mountain) separated by low-lying terrain underlain by the Eagle Creek Formation or landslide debris. Each of these peaks is actually the southern end of a N-S ridge of CRBG, marking sites where basalt flows backfilled south-flowing tributaries of ancestral Columbia River."


Source:    Wells, R.E., Niem, A.R., Evarts, R.C., and Hagstrum, J.T., 2010, "The Columbia River Basalt Group -- From the gorge to the sea", IN: Geologic Society of America Field Guild 15, 2009.



Fort Cascades Historic Site ...
Fort Cascades Historic Site is located on Hamilton Island, and is reached from the Dam Access Road off of Washington State Highway 14. The site is on the Register of Historic Places, and features a 1.5 mile interpretive trail which leads to the Cascades Townsite and Fort Cascades Compound. The trail follows the bed of the portage railroad as it was in 1836.
[More]

Image, 2004, Fort Cascades kiosk, click to enlarge
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Kiosk for Fort Cascades Historic Site, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken August 1, 2004.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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"Cascades Townsite", Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2005, Fort Cascades, click to enlarge
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Location of Fort Cascades, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 2, 2005.


Salmon Fishing ...
(to come)

Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Salmon Fishing, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Salmon Fishing, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Salmon Fishing, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.
Image, 2014, Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Salmon Fishing, Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 7, 2014.


Strawberry Island ...
"Strawberry Island" is a local name used for Hamilton Island. In 1805 Lewis and Clark referred to the island by the name "Strawberry Island".


Views from Hamilton Island ...
Hamilton Island provides good views of Hamilton Island, Bradford Island, and Bonneville Dam. Along the Oregon shore can be seen Munra Point, Moffett Creek, and the mouth of Tanner Creek. Downstream is Ives Island and Beacon Rock.

Image, 2004, Hamilton Mountain, from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Hamilton Mountain, Washington, as seen from Hamilton Island. Image taken October 27, 2004.
Image, 2004, Bradford Island, from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Bradford Island, downstream tip, as seen from Hamilton Island. Image taken August 1, 2004.
Image, 2013, Bonneville Dam, from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Bonneville Dam, as seen from Hamilton Island. Image taken February 19, 2013.
Image, 2006, Bonneville Dam Spillway, Oregon side, click to enlarge
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Spillway, Oregon side, Bonneville Dam. View from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 22, 2006.
Image, 2004, Munra Point, from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Munra Point, Oregon, as seen from Hamilton Island. Image taken August 1, 2004.
Image, 2006, Spring colors, Munra Point, click to enlarge
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Spring, Munra Point, Oregon. View from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 22, 2006.
Image, 2004, Moffett Creek drainage, from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Moffett Creek drainage, Oregon, as seen from Hamilton Island. Image taken August 1, 2004.
Image, 2005, Tanner Creek drainage, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Tanner Creek, Oregon, from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2005, Beacon Rock from Hamilton Island, click to enlarge
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Beacon Rock from Hamilton Island. Ives Island is just barely visible on the left. Image taken April 2, 2005.
Image, 2006, Ives Island from Hamilton Island, Washington, click to enlarge
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Ives Island from Hamilton Island, Washington. Image taken July 2, 2006.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 31, 1805 ...
A Cloudy rainey disagreeable morning I proceeded down the river to view with more attention [Cascade Locks area] we had to pass on the river below, the two men with me Jo. Fields & Peter Crusat proceeded down to examine the rapids the Great Shute [Cascade Rapids] which commenced at the Island on which we encamped [Ashes Lake, now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir] Continud with great rapidity and force thro a narrow chanel much compressd. and interspersed with large rocks for a mile, at a mile lower is a verry Considerable rapid at which place the waves are remarkably high, and proceeded on in a old Indian parth 2 miles by land thro a thick wood & hill Side, to the river where the Indians make a portage, from this place I dispatched Peter Crusat (our principal waterman) back to follow the river and examine the practibility of the Canoes passing, as the rapids appeared to continue down below as far as I could See, I with Jo. Fields proceeded on, at a mile below the end of the portage [Fort Rains] ...     at 2 miles lower & 5 below our Camp I passed a village of 4 large houses abandend by the nativs, with their dores bared up, ...     from a Short distance below the vaults the mountain which is but low on the Stard. Side leave the river, and a leavel Stoney open bottom Suckceeds on the Said Std. Side for a great Distance down, the mountains high and rugid on the Lard Side this open bottom is about 2 miles a Short distance below this village is a bad Stoney rapid and appears to be the last in view I observed at this lower rapid the remains of a large and antient Village which I could plainly trace by the Sinks in which they had formed their houses, as also those in which they had buried their fish- from this rapid to the lower end of the portage [vicinity of Fort Cascades at the lower end of Hamilton Island] the river is Crouded with rocks of various Sizes between which the water passes with great velociety createing in many places large Waves, an Island which is Situated near the Lard. Side [Bradford Island] occupies about half the distance the lower point of which is at this rapid. immediately below this rapid the high water passes through a narrow Chanel through the Stard. Bottom forming an Island of 3 miles <wide> Long & one wide, I walked through this Island [Hamilton Island] which I found to be verry rich land, and had every appearance of haveing been at Some distant period Cultivated. at this time it is Covered with grass intersperced with Strawberry vines. I observed Several places on this Island where the nativs had dug for roots and from its lower point I observed 5 Indians in a Canoe below the upper point of an Island near the middle of the river Covered with tall timber [???],    which indued me to believe that a village was at no great distanc below, I could not See any rapids below <for> in the extent of my view which was for a long distance down the river, which from the last rapids [Middle Cascades] widened and had everry appearance of being effected by the tide,- I deturmind to return to Camp 10 miles distant [on an island by Ashes Lake, across from Cascade Locks, Oregon], a remarkable high detached rock Stands in a bottom on the Stard Side [Beacon Rock] near the lower point of this Island on the Stard. Side about 800 feet high and 400 paces around, we call the Beaten rock.     a Brook [Hamilton Creek] falls into the narrow Chanel [Hamilton Slough, today's Greenleaf Slough] which forms the Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island], which at this time has no running water, but has every appearance of dischargeing emence torrents &c. &c. Jo. Fields Shot a Sand hill Crane. I returned by the Same rout on an Indian parth passing up on the N W. Side of the river to our Camp at the Great Shute [an island near Ashes Lake, across from Cascade Locks, now under the waters of Bonneville Reservoir]. found Several Indians from the village, I Smoked with them; Soon after my return two Canoes loaded with fish & Bear grass for the trade below, came down from the village at the mouth of the Catterack River [Klickitat River], they unloaded and turned their Canoes up Side down on the beech, & camped under a Shelveing rock below our Camp ...

This Great Shute or falls [Upper Cascade Rapids] is about a mile with the water of this great river Compressed within the Space of 150 paces in which there is great numbers of both large and Small rocks, water passing with great velocity forming & boiling in a most horriable manner, with a fall of about 20 feet, below it widens to about 200 paces and current gentle for a Short distance. a Short distance above is three Small rockey Islands, and at the head of those falls, three Small rockey Islands are Situated Crosswise the river, Several rocks above in the river & 4 large rocks in the head of the Shute; those obstructions together with the high Stones which are continually brakeing loose from the mountain on the Stard Side and roleing down into the Shute aded to those which brake loose from those Islands above and lodge in the Shute, must be the Cause of the rivers daming up to Such a distance above, <and Show> where it Shows Such evidant marks of the Common current of the river being much lower than at the present day






Clark, November 2, 1805 ...
Examined the rapid below us [from their camp at Fort Rains, looking at the Cascade Rapids] more pertcelarly the danger appearing too great to Hazzard our Canoes loaded, dispatched all the men who could not Swim with loads to the end of the portage below, I also walked to the end of the portage with the carriers where I delayed untill everry articles was brought over and canoes arrived Safe. here we brackfast and took a Meridn. altitude 59 45' 45" about the time we were Setting out 7 Squars came over loaded with Dried fish, and bear grass neetly bundled up, Soon after 4 Indian men came down over the rapid in a large canoe.     passed a rapid at 2 miles & 1 at 4 miles opposite the lower point of a high Island on the Lard Side [Bradford Island], and a little below 4 Houses on the Stard. Bank, a Small Creek on the Lard Side [Tanner Creek] opposit Straw berry Island [Hamilton Island], which heads below the last rapid, opposit the lower point of this Island [Hamilton Island] passed three Islands covered with tall timber [today there are two, Ives and Pierce] opposit the Beatin rock [Beacon Rock]    Those Islands are nearest the Starboard Side, imediately below on the Stard. Side passed a village of nine houses [indentified on Atlas map#79 as the "Wah-clallah Tribe of Shahala Nation", location near today's Skamania and Skamania Landing], which is Situated between 2 Small Creeks [Woodard Creek and Duncan Creek], and are of the Same construction of those above; here the river widens to near a mile, and the bottoms are more extensive and thickly timbered, as also the high mountains on each Side, with Pine, Spruce pine, Cotton wood, a Species of ash, and alder.     at 17 miles passed a rock near the middle of the river [Phoca Rock], about 100 feet high and 80 feet Diamuter,     proceed on down a Smoth gentle Stream of about 2 miles wide, in which the tide has its effect as high as the Beaten rock [Beacon Rock] or the Last rapids at Strawberry Island [Hamilton Island],- Saw great numbers of waterfowl of Different kinds, Such as Swan, Geese, white & grey brants, ducks of various kinds, Guls, & Pleaver [today just below Beacon Rock is Franz National Wildlife Refuge]. ...     we encamped under a high projecting rock on the Lard. Side [Rooster Rock, with Crown Point rising above it],     here the mountains leave the river on each Side [leaving the Columbia River Gorge, Steigerwald Land NWR is on the north and the Sandy River delta is on the south], which from the great Shute to this place is high and rugid [Columbia River Gorge]; thickly Covered with timber principalley of the Pine Species. The bottoms below appear extensive and thickly Covered with wood.     river here about 2 miles wide.     Seven Indians in a Canoe on their way down to trade with the nativs below, encamp with us, those we left at the portage passed us this evening and proceeded on down The ebb tide rose here about 9 Inches, the flood tide must rise here much higher- we made 29 miles to day from the Great Shute [Cascade Locks]-





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, 2006;    Hill, R., 1999, A New Look at an Old Landslide, from the Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, September 29, 1999, and presented on the U.S. Geological Survey Landslides Hazards website, 2004;    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington State Historical Society;    U.S. Bureau of Land Management website, 2006, General Land Office Records;    Wells, R.E., Niem, A.R., Evarts, R.C., and Hagstrum, J.T., 2010, "The Columbia River Basalt Group -- From the gorge to the sea", IN: Geologic Society of America Field Guild 15, 2009;   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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July 2017