On a clear day, it is hard to beat the drive down to Bend, Oregon from Eastern Washington along US Highway 97. Leaving the Yakima Valley, the snow peak of Mt. Rainer is in the NW, and Mt. Adams overlooks the valley from the west. Reaching Goldendale, Mt. Adams is to the NW and Mt. Hood is to the SW. Turning the bend on Highway 97 heading down into the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood is dead ahead (as in this image). Climbing back out of the Gorge to the Oregon Plateau, Mt. Adams is to the north and Mt. Hood is due west. Continuing south past Shaniko, one sees a little turn out with a clear view of the Cascade Range. From here, Mt. Adams is in the far north, Mt. Hood is in the NW, and Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and Three-fingered Jack are to the west and SW. Traveling south out of Madras Mt. Jefferson rises prominently above the farm lands to the west. Approaching Redmond, the Three Sisters and Broken Top are seen to the west and SW. Then Mt. Bachelor rises up as you enter the Bend area. It is a pretty impressive four hour drive on a clear day, which is pretty common in sunny Eastern Washington and Oregon!
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.
This image was taken from the top of Saddle Mountain looking south toward the Pasco Basin. (Yesterday’s post was from the same location looking north toward the Othello Basin.)
Can you believe that this was once a 800 foot deep lake? During the Missoula floods, water entered the Pasco Basin northeast from the Palouse, north from the Drumheller/Othello Channels and northwest from the Columbia River through Sentinel Gap. Wallula Gap blocked the water from flowing freely through the Columbia Gorge to the Pacific Ocean. The result was the temporary Ice Age Lake Lewis. Today, the Columbia River meanders through the basin. The Hanford Nuclear Research facility is located south and east of the river. Rattlesnake Ridge is visible in the background.