I lived in Goldendale, Washington when I was five years old. Sam Hill’s Stonehenge, built as a memorial to the county’s soldiers who died in World War I, is one of my strongest memories of that year, though I didn’t realize it was a war memorial until I revisited it as an adult. No, there was something primal, something magical about it, that fascinated me even as a child.
It might not be too far from wrong to say that this mysterious monument somehow frames my memory of this area.
I can’t remember ever returning to Goldendale without also returning here and walking the grounds.
Of course, I’m also drawn to places with names like Horse Thief Butte which jutts out into the Columbia like some ancient fortress,
in startling contrast to the forested ridge line that stands guard above it.
I still imagine the sheriff and his posse waiting on the ridge for the right moment to sweep down and capture the bad guys.
Of course, my memories of this place are also colored by tales of my grandfather breaking wild broncs here as a young man and by the time we visited the Klickitat rodeo, a real thrill for a young boy who’d lived his whole life in Seattle and never seen a horse, much less an Indian chief, except in a Saturday matinee.