The Issaquah Schtick Realized

Some towns are known for their schticks. New York City has bagels, Seattle has apathy, Los Angeles has beautiful people, Houston has cowboy boots, etc. I’m not saying all citizens in those cities are like this, I’m saying these are these cities’ schticks. It’s what they emblazon on the tourist stuff they sell in their airports.

I’ve lived near a city named Issaquah for half my life. Issaquah is a nice little city whose schtick is that it plays host to salmon once a year. Salmon swim through Issaquah’s creeks once a year, upstream on their way to their spawning grounds. There’s even a salmon hatchery in Issaquah, where they help the salmon population get a leg up. Every year, Issaquah pulls out all the stops for their October festival called Salmon Days.

Salmon are a big deal in Issaquah.

Even though I’ve lived within spitting distance of Issaquah for fourteen years now, I’ve never seen a salmon in real life. Not in the wild, at least. I’ve seen a few in zoos. I never really expected to, either, since I don’t exactly seek them out. Still, I’ve always wanted to see one. They’re cool fish (they jump waterfalls!) and they taste delicious.

The creek.

This isn’t the exact creek, but it’s close enough. You get the idea.

I was out and about with my kids today, tossing around the idea of taking them to a park, when I randomly decided to take them to a little creek. It was a sunny day and I left like letting them get their hands dirty for awhile.

As soon as we got there, we heard vigorous splashing and looked downstream to see a massive fish muscling itself over some rapids. It pushed itself over the rocks, coming out of the water a few times, and kept splashing the water everywhere until it made it back into the deeper water upstream. It was dark red and had a hooked mouth. Undeniably a salmon!

He was soon joined by a cohort of other salmon, all of them bigger than I would have guessed, all of them athletic and fast. They gathered in the little pool in front of us, catching their breaths, and then one by one started queuing up to jump up the waterfall upstream to our left. It was incredible to watch them beat their tails and fly up, into, and then over the waterfall.

So I guess I’m a native now. And my kids are too. The only thing that would’ve made it better is if I’d had my good camera on hand to document the experience. That’s the trouble with living life, though. Sometimes you’re too busy having fun to record how much fun you’re having.