After being born in freshwater, anadromous fish migrate to the ocean to live and grow. At the end of their lives, they migrate back upriver to die in the place they were born and send off the next generation.

Like a returning salmon, I rode my bike and kayaked (for the roadless section of Kinbasket Lake) 2000 kilometers up the Columbia River from sea to source. I left from Clatsop Spit, Oregon at the river's mouth on June 24, 2017 and arrived at the river's headwaters at Canal Flats, British Columbia on July 29, 2017 — 36 days later.

From 2014 - 2018, I was a student at Quest University Canada, an innovative liberal arts college in Squamish, BC. At Quest, instead of majors we have “questions” that we use to guide our studies. My question is: How do we shape water and how does it shape us? It seeks to understand the dynamic between how a region's water resources determine how people live in that region and, in turn, how those people use and change the region's water resources. The purpose of this adventure was to explore my question through a hands-on study of people and place in the Columbia River Basin. As I cycled, I read five books about the river, interviewed fifteen experts and many ordinary residents of the Basin, wrote, photographed, and otherwise learned as much as I could.

At the headwaters in Canal Flats (photo by  Pat Morrow ). Top photo by unknown.

At the headwaters in Canal Flats (photo by Pat Morrow). Top photo by unknown.