Ballard or Hiram M. Chittenden Locks
The Ballard Locks (proper name is Hiram M Chittenden Locks) were one of our favorite places to visit when we lived in Seattle, We enjoyed watching the boats make the passage between Puget Sound and Lake Union. Big boats and little boats all had to use the locks to move between the saltwater of the sound and the fresh water of the Lake Union/Lake Washington system.
Southern Wind waiting for Locks to Open
We had to make the visit to Ballard Locks when we returned to Seattle in 2011. We got up Sunday Morning and drove out to see what was going on. There wasn't much boat traffic. A few boats of various sizes going into the sound and a few coming from the sound to the lakes. There was enough traffic for things to be interesting.
Ballard Locks Looking towards Puget Sound
The views around the locks are interesting. The water jets out of the dam are fish slides that allow the baby fish to fly over the seals that often come here for an easy meal. The railroad drawbridge on the sound side is striking.
Railroad Drawbridge on Sound Side of Ballard Locks
The schemes used to help migrating salmon get from Puget Sound into the Lakes and the baby salmon from the lakes into the Sound are interesting. There is a set of fish ladders to help the salmon get into the lakes. There are viewing windows so you can see the salmon fighting against the current to get into the lake. Then there are fish slides (jets of water) to help the baby fish get back into the sound.
When we looked at the fish ladder, we saw only one fish trying to make his way into the lake. According to the information posted at the fish ladder we were between salmon runs. When we were here in 2002, there were lots of fish making the journey. And lots of birds and seals looking or an easy meal.
Railroad Bridge Ballard Locks, Seattle, Washington
Boats headed to Puget Sound
Loading Small Boat Lock, Ballard Locks Seattle, WA