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Washington

Although I was headed into Washington I drove up through Idaho to enter by Moscow, Idaho. I've heard reports of the areas beauty for years... time to check it out. Moscpw, to Pullman, Wa. and head west. Many beautiful bottom valleys.

Another idyllic valley this one looks like just the right place to pull up and spend a few decades.

This house has been vacant for a few years. At least no one has been keeping the shrubbery trimmed.

This view is looking across the Clearwater River, South toward Peck Idaho. Though the area has a mountainous feel there are no mountains here. These valleys are carved out a dead-flat plain that is composed of layer on top of layer of basaltic lava flows that were deposited over millions of years.

Back to Washington.... Above those lovely river bottoms there are endless vistas of rolling hills. The Farmers here plant in rows that contour the hillside.

Of course from the ground all you can see is the top of the next hill. But if you set the timer on your camera and throw it up into the air just right you can see how they bubble off to the horizon.

Some hills are taller than others... This picture was taken from the ground. Well, the roof of my vehicle, actually...

Looking over toward one of the lovely river bottoms from the bubbly hilltops.

Why Washington?

This is a satellite image of the reason I was headed into Washington this time. What you are looking at is evidence of repeated catastrophic flooding events. This is how the theory goes: During the ice ages of 13k - 15k years ago, massive glacial lakes formed during the melts and when they let loose a sudden barrage of water. They estimate that the largest of these was the equivalent to 13 Amazon rivers and they weren't selling any books.

So use your imagination a little. The floods were coming in from the top of the image. Perhaps at first the flood fanned out over the plain tearing up as much as it could. Then in the area over to the right a fissure in one of the basaltic layers gave out... maybe there was a cavern underneath carved out by millennia of seepage, and the weight of the water caused it to fail creating a deep channel that pulled away most of the water... well I took a few more pictures of what I saw...

This is the North end of Omak lake. See that nice valley there... Imagine it filled to the brim with water...Not nicely flowing water. That valley was empty a minute ago. It is now raging. Overflowing with a cataclysmic volume of water.

And it's not just that channel, there is more water flooding in from the left of the picture. Are you running yet?

Nowadays, Lake Omak is a saline lake it is few by three streams but there is no outflow. The floods carved out a good hollow. Are you still running? I think we had better get to some high ground.

OK, we are above the lake. Churning around through the pit of the lake has caused the water to dissipate a lot of its energy and the channel is wider here so we should be safe, right?

Wait, maybe not

Maybe we are not safe up here. Even though we have climbed a few-hundred feet up this hill, the flood has deposited a few dozen of these van-sized granite boulders up on the hill. This one happened to rest on a nice pedestal.

The flood was blasting from the right to the left.

Balancing Rock

Another view of the balancing rock.

And then I went up to the plateau on the left half of the satellite image. At the North end of the plateau there are house-sized chunks of basalt that were left behind as the flood lost the energy to keep them moving.

What do you do when you have giane chunks of ston in your fields? you mow around them.

Stone Piles

As you travel further to the south the boulders left behind are smaller and the farmers can assemble them into nifty piles.

Columbia River

This was taken a few hundred feet up. from just about the bottom of the satellite image just left of the middle I am looking south-east, upstream intoteh columbia river basin.

This is looking Westward, The Columbia river is to the left. Notice how everything is carved out of an incredibly flat plain. running up to the right of the frame is the basin of the Okinogan River. It is considered that long ago the Columbia river flowed down that channel being diverted way up in Canada. I think I willgo over there for the next picture.

Yep, another old wrecked house.

Mayer Water Tower

And of course there are the water towers. we mustn't forget the water towers.

Grain Elevator

And a patient, old Grain Elevator.

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Keywords in This Article

Washington
Idaho
Flood
Missoula floods
Omak
Valley
Bottom

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