My Columbia River Collection: Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

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Before I left for San Francisco I spent some time along the Mighty Columbia River. For me—and for my garden—this is my happy place. I love the Bay Area and NorCal too, but the Northwest is home. Following are pictures from a trip to the Astoria, Oregon area and to Cascade Locks, Oregon.
Astoria looks at the Columbia as it enters into the ocean and Cascade Locks is where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains. It is also just above Bonneville Dam.
These scenes are sprinkled with lyrics from “Roll On, Columbia, Roll On” written by Woody Guthrie. Hired by the Bonneville Power Administration, this song was recorded on an album of propaganda songs about the federal public works created to make hydroelectricity along the Columbia back during the early twentieth century.
The tune is set to “Good Night Irene,” ironically, the song which contained the lyric that inspired the author Ken Kesey to write Sometimes a Great Notion—a Northwestern classic about loggers.
Lower Columbia
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.
Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the ocean so blue
It’s roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wikiki Beach, Cape Disappointment, Washington State.

Tom Jefferson’s vision would not let him rest
An empire he saw in the Pacific Northwest
Sent Lewis and Clark and they did the rest
Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Pearly Everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea.
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, W
illamette and Hood River too
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Confluence Project, Cape Disappointment, Washington State (designed by Maya Lin).
It’s there on your banks that we fought many a fight
Sheridan’s boys in the blockhouse that night
They saw us in death but never in flight
Roll on Columbia, roll on!
Snake.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Digitalis sp with native bee.
Our loved ones we lost there at Coe’s little store,
By fireball and rifle, a dozen or more, 
We won by the Mary and soldiers she bore,
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Leathery Polypody Fern, Polypodium scouleri.
Remember the trial when the battle was won?
The wild Indian warriors to the tall timber run
We hung every Indian with smoke in his gun
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Licorice Fern, Polypodium glycyrrhiza.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn

Roll on, Columbia, roll on!

Upper Columbia
At Bonneville now there is ships in the locks
The waters have risen and drowned the rocks 
Shiploads of plenty will steam in the docks
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Wind surfer.
On up the river is Grand Coulee Dam
The mightiest thing ever built by a man
To run the great factories for ole Uncle Sam
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
An island where the Native Americans used to leave the bones of their ancestors.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Bonneville Dam in the distance and smoke from forest fires.
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
When Bonneville Dam was built it destroyed Celilo Falls where the Native Americans once fished. Although the falls are still gone, they’ve adapted their platforms and you see them from the sternwheeler up and down the river above the dam during the fishing season. Here you see a sister and her little brother carrying on that tradition on their grandpa’s platform.

Roll on, Columbia, roll on

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
Roll on, Columbia, roll on!
Hope you enjoyed that little trip that jumped from the mouth of the Columbia River up past Portland to Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge. It may have seemed strange to see all of this on a gardening blog but as a descendant of both pioneers, and a native American woman from the state of Montana, it is hard for me not to see the garden around me everywhere no matter where I land.

4 thoughts on “My Columbia River Collection: Roll On, Columbia, Roll On

  1. Great post, if I ever get down that way, I'd love to see the Columbia. Nature's Garden is always an appropriate subject for a gardening blog — the macrocosm, rather than the microcosm, which often tries to imitate nature.

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  2. Anonymous

    I really like the picture of the scaffold! its funny cause im doing a research paper on native american history on the columbia river and came across this picture of me and my little brother, the kid behind me is a boy. The picture above is us two on our grandpa's scaffolds. You should take more pictures!

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  3. Thank you so much and how great you found it online! (I will correct the gender of the little brother too.) That's wonderful you found this and it's great you're doing research about the Columbia River and Native American history. It is a sacred place to me too even though I am descended from a Cheyenne woman. As for more pictures, I promise to take more. As a matter of fact, I'm off the enjoy the lower Columbia River this weekend. Keep up the good work and keep fishing. Yummy fish!!!

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