Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Locks

While we were in Seattle last Sunday we decided to stop at the Locks - the Hiram Chittenden Locks. Bonus round... it's a field trip!

We saw a full cycle of moving boats up and down through the locks. Lake Washington is about 20 feet above sea level... well, depends on the tide, I suppose, but it's a significant difference. We were amazed at the quantity of water and how quickly they managed to fill and empty the locks.

These first three pictures show the boats entering from the higher lake side. The green slime line on the wall shows the high-water mark.

In this second picture you can see the water level has dropped almost to it's lowest.

Then in this third picture, the boats are exiting the locks, heading out for Puget Sound.

There is also a fish ladder... we didn't get any good pics. Not many fish there, anyway. Most of the salmon came through more than a month ago. We saw just 4 or 5 Coho that were probably not the sharpest tacks in the box...

Not only were the locks themselves interesting, directly downstream is a train trestle that is a drawbridge. While we were there it had to be lowered for the Amtrak and then a freight train to pass, but raised for a tall ship to come through and enter the Locks. Very cool!


Stretch Mark Mama said...

Oh. We are SO going to have to do that whenever we make it up to Seattle. We just finished studying the Panama Canal and watching time-elapse videos of it online. (very cool) My boys (7, 4) are still having trouble grasping the concept of a lock.

Julie said...

The boys LOVED it.

The funny thing is that I wasn't thinking of it relating to anything we're studying, but as I showed the boys the way the doors of the lock make a "V", that points upstream (thereby holding the doors shut), Tate immediately made the connection to our study of the human body. He was thinking of the one-way valves in our veins.

Way to go Tate!