Posted by: Kate | October 25, 2010

A Walk by the River

On Saturday Mr. Kate and I escaped the house and went for a walk along our favourite river. This is Mr. Kate’s fishing river, and has a great trail system along it for walking. At this time of year the salmon are continuing their incoming migration, valiantly fighting the rain-swelled river. If you want to be reminded of the circle of life, walk along a salmon-spawning river in the fall.


One of the many riffles and rapids the fish fight past.


The smell hits you as you come down the trail towards the water. It’s not unbearable, but it is definitely the smell of decay. The next thing you notice is the sound of the birds. On this day we only saw seagulls at the river’s edge, although we heard some eagles up above. The salmon, as it dies, feeds the entire ecosystem. Animals eat it, dragging the carcasses around the forest and thus adding fertilizer to the ground.


Apparently the animals don't eat a lot of fish tails, as we saw these on the trail the most.


The forest along this river is incredibly rich and lush – fish fertilizer is nature’s best compost maker.


Ferns along the trail.


Meanwhile, in the river, the giant Chinook are valiantly fighting upstream, to spawn and thus start their cycle over again. These salmon will die, and their decaying bodies will provide the nutrient to the river, which will then sustain the new baby salmon in the beginning of their lives.

Watching the salmon fight the river is awe-inspiring. To see the instinctive drive to get farther in the face of what seem such difficult obstacles is almost puzzling to us humans who really prefer to find the easier way to do things.


Two chinook resting before continuing to battle the river.

In the spring we will walk the river in search of the salmon fry born of this migration, and we will see the cycle begin again.



  1. Those ferns do love their fish tails. Beautiful!

  2. Wow, Kate, that was super-interesting, thx! Love the photos.

  3. what gorgeous photos of an amazing life cycle.

    lily will really enjoy this post. she’s in bed now, but i’ll read it to her tomorrow!

  4. lovely post – nice words, and pics to accompany it. i always like to explore the rivers around here, especially up where you are, in the fall to see the fish coming up.

  5. Such a great photo story about the circle of life. I think very few people really know just how many levels of the food chain are impacted by this particular cycle. Thanks for sharing!

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