Sunday, August 08, 2010

Basalt, Water and Wildfires

East of the Cascades it can get pretty hot in the middle of summer. We've had temperatures in the mid to high 90s and what I thought was heat haze this past week turned out to be wildfires in the area of Wenatchee some thirty miles away. Last night we had a breeze kick in and about thirty spits of rain, but it was enough to clear the air a bit last night and this morning for the first time we could see the other side of the river clearly.

I took this picture as we were heading into the town of Wenatchee to do some shopping. Since the smoke from the fires softened everything into a soft haze, I thought this unusual formation on the side of the mountain resembled an intaglio of an impala. What do you think?

The Columbia river basin is a basalt lined gorge created by volcanoes called basalt floods. Basically they were cracks in the land's surface which spewed lava which then spread for thousands of miles creating layer upon layer of the basalt. Further to the east of us in the area called "the Potholes" the basalt formed into six-sided columns.Some 16,000 years ago huge glaciers dammed up the Columbia River and when the water eventually worked its way below the ice huge floods rushed across the area in waves estimated to be at least 650 feet tall. The waters washed away layers of the basalt and on the banks across the river from us created giant ripples in the land. Estimated to be about 24 feet high and about 360 feet apart, you can see the edges from our campsite but to get the full effect you need to be much higher in elevation. Here, Denny and I are trying to get a better view of the ripples on the other side of the river.

It seems like everyone here has a boat or a Sea doo and yet the river is so long and wide it is never crowded with water craft even on weekends.

Our campground is tucked just around the corner on the lower left hand side of this picture. In the cool of the evening we sit at the rear of our site overlooking the river and marvel at the forces of nature that created the cliffs that surround us and the river basin that lies below us. Here, glaciers created gorges and canyons while in Ohio where we grew up they created flatlands with rich soil for farming. The wonders of nature indeed.

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SkippyMom said...

Stunning. You lucky ducks :)

I had to look hard, but finally saw what you were talking about. It does look like an Impala. How neat is that?

Vert word: nonceste

100 degree temps is just nonceste.

Linda in New Mexico said...

I love all you scenic photos but the most intriguing for me is the columns. They are so unusual and wonderful. Hot is hot is hot.
vert word is expox. I sure hope you're not expox to more heat than you can handle.

Gloria said...

I love when I come here to your blog, I get to see places that I've never seen before. I thank you for that. Beautiful. Have a great week.

Linda in New Mexico said...

Hey, I just left you an award at my blog....kisses, Linda the Olde Bagg...I know I am an (__)

Anonymous said...

Wow.. your photos take my breath away. Such beauty in Nature's power.

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