Traveling East: Road Trip up the Columbia Gorge
The road east from Portland has been built and redefined many times in the last few thousand years. The first big change was caused by the receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age. The melting waters built up behind an ice dam in Idaho and Montana creating a temporary lake the size of one of the great lakes. Eventually, the water pressure built up and the ice dam melted to such a point that there was a catastrophic failure of the structure. Over the course of a few days, the lake drained and flooded western Washington. The Washington house of representatives was powerless to stop it. The waters swirled around looking for an exit past the mountains to the ocean and eventually carved one through the Columbia river canyon. Carrying the remains of the ice dam and the huge rocks attached to them, the waters scoured through the area cutting the wide and steep valley that we now call the Columbia Gorge. When this torrent hit Portland, it backed up against the local coast range and flooded south into the Willamette Valley. For a time the large valley was under 200 feet of water, with icebergs carrying Idaho boulders bobbing around on the murky muddy surface. As the waters receded, all was left changed. The icebergs in the Willamette Valley left their attached boulders sitting out on the plains as Glacial Erratics; The mud and debris left deep all around. The Columbia, up around the gorge, was scoured clean to bedrock. Large monoliths, like Beacon Rock, the core of and old Volcano, were stripped of their surrounding materials and left bare and wonderful rising out of the river. And that was how the humans found it.
|A common sight by the early pioneers, first glimpse of Mt Mood.|
Deschutes River Park
- The River Trail, which I will call “The Poison Oak and Dead Fish” trail. This summer's ghastly heat and lack of rain has heated the river to a point where the salmon are dying. They are dying and floating to shore and you can smell them up and down the rivers. I was wearing long pants and a long shirt for sun protection, but this would also work ok for poison oak protection. But my parnter was in cute shorts and low socks and I could see her ankles swinging through that trecherous green stuff. She isn't particularly afraid of exposure to the stuff but it was driving me crazy. I really wanted to pick another trail.
- The Middle Trail. (The Snake and Tick Trail). This one went through what would have to be the definition of “high grass”. Once again. I was wearing appropriate protective clothing. My partner, it turns out, is much more afraid of ticks than she is of Poison Oak. Our conversation on the way showed the problem. She has had a lot of experience with ticks on her person and those of her children. For me, it has been all about encounters with Poison Oak (and it's evil sister, Poison Ivy).
- The Trail. (The Hit By Bike Trail). This is a converted railroad right of way. Wide, rocky, easy to talk. Easy to zoom down much too fast on a trail bike. Very hot with the reflection of sun off of the gravel.
- The high Trail (the much too hot to actually consider trail) Perhaps that was where the snakes were.
|Rattle Snake Rapids|