Wildflowers – Snow Mountain Ranch, Cowiche, Washington
I took a day to explore and photograph wildflowers. I tried to capture both the overall feel of the large masses of flowers and their place in the countryside as well as individual vignettes of little scenes of flowers and interesting subjects.
This image I attempted to capture the field of bright wildflowers set against the green hillsides covered with sage brush and bunch grass and the interesting clouds in the background. My objective was to capture the feel of the beautiful, cloudy, peaceful day.
Argillite Boulder – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington
This image depicts an interesting perspective of time. The rock in the foreground was deposited here on Rattlesnake Mountain around 15,000 years ago. The Rattlesnake Mountain and the Horse Heaven Hills in the background were created as part of the Yakima Fold formation about 1.5 million years ago. The bedrock of this area is basalt from basalt flows through eastern Washington from 6-15 million years ago. The argillite boulder in the foreground is metamorphic rock from western Montana formed 1.5 billion years ago.
So here I was, sitting on a rock created before life on earth existed, brought here by a humongous flood around 15 thousand years ago, deposited on mountains uplifted 1.5 million years ago, created by a series of gigantic lava flows about 2 miles thick 6-15 million years ago. And I think I am old at 67 years. As many of my Whizzy friends would say, “It’s a thinker.”
As glaciers moved southward during the Ice Ages, they scoured the terrain picking up rock debris. During the Missoula Floods, parts of the glaciers would break off forming ice bergs. These were carried down through the Eastern Washington scablands into the Pasco basin. As Lake Lewis formed, many of the ice bergs floated to the edges of the lake. As the lake emptied, several of these ice bergs were left stranded on the surrounding ridges. They melted leaving mounds of accumulated rocks, gravel, and sand. These are “bergmounds”.
Most bergmounds are found in the Pasco Basin at elevations of 600 – 850 feet. They are 20 – 35 feet higher than the surrounding terrain. The bergmound pictured above is on a plateau of eastern Rattlesnake mountain above Richland, WA. The bergmounds are somewhat inconspicuous unless, one is looking for them.
Granite Erratic – Rattlesnake Mountain, Washington
The Missoula Floods carried large icebergs from the glaciers that dammed Lake Missoula or from the Okanagan lobe glacier that dammed Lake Columbia along with them as they made their way to the Pacific. As the icebergs melted or became “stranded” against ridges that formed Lake Lewis, they dropped the rocks that the glaciers picked up as they scoured their paths southward. Granite is present in Montana as well as northern Washington. But it is not present in central Washington. The origin of this single granite erratic on Rattlesnake Mountain is therefore not definite. It could have come from either Montana or northern Washington.
This chunk of granite is approximately 6′ in length. It is located at about 800 feet elevation (my estimate).
Today is a special day. It is a day to celebrate the wonderful life Karen and I had together. What a better way to celebrate than to take a nice walk and enjoy the wildflowers of early Spring. It was a beautiful day. The hills were covered with brilliant wildflowers … yellow, pink, purple, blue and the lush green of spring grasses. Peace surrounded me. It was a wonderful time to reflect on our lives and what is right in this world.
This image was taken from below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitor’s Center near Vantage Washington. Seeing these brought back many happy memories of my youth.
As a young Boy Scout, I can remember hiking along the Columbia River north of Vantage, Washington. Huge basalt cliffs rose above the free flowing river. We could climb up along the rocks and see these funny drawings made by ancient Indians. We did not think much of it back then. When the Wanapum Dam was built, the backwaters flooded the area where many of these artifacts were located. Luckily, someone had the foresight to carefully remove these petroglyphs before the water covered them up. Today several of the saved petroglyphs are displayed below the Gynko Petrified Forest Visitors Center.
Note: Notice the initials and heart above the man and woman. Why would anyone deface such a piece of our history????
This image is a close-up of the giant ripples on the West Bar near Crescent City on the Columbia River as showed on my previous entry. These giant ripples were created during the Ice Age Floods as the Columbia River flowed over the gravel bar. They are 35 feet high, spaced at 150 -200 feet apart. It is amazing what water can do!
How calm the Columbia River looks. Fifteen thousand years ago, during the Ice Age Floods, it wasn’t quite like this. At that time the Columbia was flowing at the top of the basalt cliffs seen in the distance. The West Bar shown in the middle of this image is comprised of gravel. rock, and other sediments. It was part of the backwater created as the Columbia raged toward the left and then back down through the gorge. The surface of the bar is covered with giant ripples around thirty feet high.
This image was taken above Crescent Bar looking southwest.
Sentinel Gap Looking South from Frenchman’s Spring Coulee
This image was taken from the bottom of Frenchman’s Spring Coulee near where it enters the Columbia River. Sentinel Gap was cut across the Saddle Mountains by the Columbia River and the Ice Age Floods. During the floods, the Columbia River was at a level near the top of the eastern slope of the Gap. On the north side of the Gap, the Vantage Bridge and Wanapum Dam are faintly visible. Through the Gap, Umatilla and Rattlesnake Ridges are visible. And of course, the clouds make the image.