Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wallula Gap (West)

Several photos here taken during yesterday's hike to the Wallula Gap Overlook. I hiked from the north to a geocache described in "On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods". Last month I posted a few comments, photos, and links related to Wallula Gap in this blog. The granite boulders near Wallula Gap were rafted more than 100 miles by icebergs during the Ice Age Floods.

Update: The new Hanford Reach Interpretive Center is now open and a good place to learn more about Wallula Gap and the Ice Age Floods that swept through the Pasco Basin.

Wallula Gap viewed from north.
Wallula Gap viewed from Highway 12. This hike was to the highest point on the right (elev. 1,140'). During the largest Ice Age Floods the high point was under eighty feet of water.

Small Wallula Gap area erratic.
You don't walk far around here before running into well-travelled rocks.

Erratic boulder ice-rafted during the Ice Age Floods.
At the 1,100 ft level, a large granodiorite erratic rests more than 760 feet above the Columbia River. This erratic is featured in video clip below.

November wildflowers at Wallula Gap.
Wallula Gap wildflowers blooming on the 15th of November.

View across Wallula Gap to the Two Sisters.

Wallula Gap summit above the Columbia River.
The "summit" area is pretty cool on this side of Wallula Gap. I'll leave those photos out so you can see for yourself when you make the trip. Don't forget to look for the geocache. This shot does show the highpoint. With just a 20-second timer on my camera, these shots can be a race.

Ice Age Floods erratic exposed near Wallula Gap.
Some of the erratics are only partially exposed.

Erratics rafted by Icebergs during Ice Age Flood events.
As you walk the 5-7 miles this trip involves, you'll probably be amazed at the number of small ice-rafted erratics scattered over the terrain.

Wallula Gap Barge Columbia River
Trains, trucks and barges all use Wallula Gap

Dams, locks and dredging have created a deep shipping channel on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers between Lewiston, Idaho and the Pacific Ocean. Wheat, is the main product shipped from the interior. Redredging work maintains a channel about 5 feet deeper than the Mississippi River system allowing barges twice as heavy to operate. The construction of the dams brought numerous benefits and several negatives, among them the flooding of many features created by the Ice Age Floods.

Wallula Gap photo taken in the spring.

Spring is the best time to explore this area, balsamroot and other wildflowers put on quite a show. View looking NE into the Pasco basin. This is a great spot to get a feel for the depth of Lake Lewis.

The short video clip below - Shows large erratic pictured above in relation to Two Sisters on the other side of Wallula Gap. Click arrow to view.

View Larger Map

Blue marker shows - Wallula Gap Overlook

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