Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tumwater Falls Park

Right in the heart of Tumwater, lies a beautiful park with a scenic walking path. It is the Tumwater Falls Park. To celebrate a glorious and sunny day, we packed a lunch and drove over to the park to enjoy the tranquility. It is only about 3 miles from where we are living in the RV right now, but we drove because we took Annie the Schnauzer with us. She loves a good picnic. Before settling down with our lunch, we decided to check out the fish hatchery on the park grounds. The sign informed us that we were looking at Chinook salmon.
They were so huge. I couldn't help looking at them and thinking of ways to cook them and enjoy their succulent goodness. There were quite a few in the hatchery pond. These ponds were built in 1964 on the park grounds to collect and spawn Chinook salmon. The ponds also aid in counting the coho salmon, steel head and cutthroat trout which are allowed to pass upstream.
Just past the hatchery area you can get a good view of the actual falls. This is the Deschutes River. Just above the falls on the left is the old brew house for the defunct Olympia Brewing Company. Remember: "Its the Water" on the old tv commercials?
A better view of part of the brew house and the falls, too.
A larger view of the brew house without the falls in the shot. Look at that beautiful sky!
Leopold Schmidt opened his Olympia Brewing Company in 1896. He was from Montana and owned a few breweries there. He heard about the exceptional springs near the city of Olympia and he came to see for himself. The artesian wells of Tumwater were perfect for brewing beer and he stayed.

The photo above is the original brew house, built in 1906.  It lies down river from the brew house by the falls but has been abandoned for many years.

The large brew house that rises above the trees beyond Tumwater Falls was built later. Prohibition stopped the brewery for a while, but in 1933 the Schmidt family began making their special brand of beer again. Various members of the Schmidt family owned and operated the Olympia Brewing Company until 1983. For 20 years after that it operated under several different corporate owners until it closed for good in 2003. The community really misses the old brewery and it put many people out of work. To this day, the building remains empty but is up for sale.

Above the Deschutes River with a grand view of the falls, is the Falls Terrace Restaurant. It is a favorite location for the lunch time crowd with great food and good specials. Open for dinner, as well. If you can score a table by the picture windows, you won't want to leave.

We continued walking past the restaurant and crossed over a small bridge to get to the far side of the river. The walking path runs along both sides of the Deschutes and will circle around to the other side down stream. From that little bridge you can get a good view of the river and the overpass for cars above.

Bruce and our Annie were enjoying the day. Annie sniffed at every rock and tree we'd allow her to stop at. Other dogs have been here, but she knows there are also critters in these woods!
A beautiful little waterfall along the way.

Here's the footbridge downstream where we crossed back over to the other side of the river.

This view from the footbridge is showing you downstream toward Capital Lake where the Deschutes will flow.

Walking back upstream now, you can see one of the fish ladders on the river. From early September through late October several thousand salmon ascend a series of 3 fish ladders. The ladders allow fish to pass around the falls and enter the ponds.

Just another wonderful view of the river.

Back at the picnic grounds we look for a nice bench in the warm sunshine.

Bruce takes a photo of me enjoying my yogurt. Taking our own lunch not only saves saves us a lot of excess calories. Still trying to knock off 8 more pounds. I blog about that journey every day on my other blogger blog site.
We all enjoyed our day and then drove back home to the good old motorhome. Now Annie is snoozing on her dog pillow and Bruce is back in the bedroom having his own snooze. Peace and quiet for me!
Until next long for now!


Jerry and Suzy said...

The Pacific Northwest has amazing waters! For drinking, for brewing, for waterfalls, for quiet pools with big fish in them, for crashing rapids, and especially for going to look at and taking pictures. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure close to home.

Anonymous said...

hey man, that picture is not of the original 1906 brewhouse at all.
that picture is of the new brewhouse built in the 30's. the old brewhouse is down below the hill. you have to go through some "private property" and "no trespassing" signs to get there, but they are worth ignoring to see the old Italian structure.
and if you're feeling really brave, find a way in. i did this recently and it is incredible in there.

bring a flashlight and some boots, though. maybe a knife.

seriously though i just wanted to point out you listed the brewhouse as the original 1906 one but really it isn't.

more info:

Margie M. said...

Yes...and I stand corrected. I have actually submitted a post just yesterday showing the real "old brewhouse down by the historical park" see: March 8, 2010 for that photo.

Thanks for the correction, and for reading the blog.

Margie M.