On Friday I scheduled a field trip up to Tahoe at Taylor Creek to see the Kokanee salmon run. We had to wake up really early for the drive up there and I wasn't really looking forward to that but it all turned out really well. After a long drive and some crankiness (from me), we made it there. Who hates being late and landing yourself in traffic? Not this mama, even if it's one of the most beautiful places on earth.
So, I was late of course to our scheduled tour time. Only by a few minutes but the ranger and our friends were waiting for us. I apologized and took a deep breath.
This salmon species was introduced into Lake Tahoe in 1944 and are the landlocked cousins of the seagoing sockeye salmon. They quickly adapted to the alpine environment and now spawn every year on Taylor Creek with the help of humans. I say with the help of humans because the creek has to be artificially flooded from the dam at Fallen Leaf Lake for this to occur and there is a breeding program that supplements the stock. You can see above the spawning pairs hovering over their redds to protect them.
There are lots of dead salmon in the river. When we left I asked the kids what they learned and Eli said, "I learned about the cycle of life." These salmon spawn and die in the same spot where they began their life. When they enter the lake as silvers they circle the lake clockwise until they are genetically predisposed to return to the creek. This can happen when they are 2, 3 or 4 years old.
Ranger Jean was awesome. At the end of our tour she told the kids that she really enjoys her job.
The cherry on the top of this day was the Bald Eagle we saw while eating lunch after our tour. It was the first one I have ever seen in the wild. Although Amelia has seen them in Florida.