Yesterday we went for a hike up at the Salmon River, one of my favorite places (if not my favorite). We hiked along the river to a campground that we like to rest at before turning around. We got to our spot and wandered down to the river. At this particular place there is a pool where the rapids seem to calm and the river stills itself. This is where Salmon come to spawn, and this is what they were doing yesterday. Watching the salmon spawn is a favorite activities and it always makes me bask in the wonder of nature.
Yesterday as I sat in this peaceful place I wondered about the salmon and spawning process. I knew a tiny bit about it: that they swim upriver from the sea. I also know that after the process of swimming upstream they die because I’ve seen a lot of dead salmon in the river during this season. But that is about the extent of my knowledge. So I did some reading about it and I am kind of moved by the lives these creatures live.
They are born in freshwater stream pools at higher altitudes, like the one I was staring at yesterday. Then swim downstream to the ocean where they live for about 4 years. When they are old enough to swim upstream to return to the place they were born so they can spawn their own baby fish (called fry). The process ends up killing them in the end. So they die in the place they were born.
Reading about this made my heart break a little bit. It’s so sad, but sad in a beautiful way.