Sam Hill’s Stonehenge Memorial

Sam Hill’s reproduction of Stonehenge built as a memorial to local soldiers killed in World War I is obviously relatively “new.” But for me, personally, it’s as old as old can be. I first saw it when I lived in Goldendale when I was 4 years old, and I’ve never forgotten it. Every time I’ve returned to Goldendale, I’ve made it a point to visit it.

I suspect I associate it with old rock houses we use to see around Goldendale when we lived there. A lack of trees led pioneers to dig their houses into the ground and then build up stone walls above the ground, much like a modern daylight basement. By the time I lived there, the sod roofs had totally disintegrated, and all that was left was hole in the ground with short rock walls. I used to think that Trolls, not people, lived in them. Icann’t even guess what I associated Stonehenge with, though after repeated visits it’s become a photographic challenge.

I’d like to think that these are as good as shots as I’ve taken of Stonehenge, possibly because it’s one of the few times I’ve managed to get there in the middle of the day on a sunny day, though repeated shots have also forced me to see it in different ways.

I decided last year that I much prefer an overall shot taken from this perspective:

Goldendale's Stonehenge Replica

This year, with the addition of a wide-angle lens to my collection, I began to realize what a difference a few feet could make in the entire feel of the inner space. Here the inner ring makes you focus on the central platform,

Inside Outer Ring

but a few feet forward and the whole space seems to open up:

Inside Inner Ring

Once inside, the angle of the sun makes a tremendous difference how you see the outside world,

Through a Door

which to a great extent seems to depend more upon the shape of the shadows than on what actually lies outside the window.

Looking West

Petroglyphs

Last year I missed Columbia Hills State Park because I tried to make the loop in two days and was running too late to stop. Later when I read online that the park had a collection of petroglyphs, I was quite disappointed. In fact, the park is one of the reasons I decided to make this a three day trip and stay overnight near Vancouver.

This sign, posted at the beginning of the trail provided an interesting introduction to the site.

Message

Unfortunately this nearby sign posted in front of a gated trail is probably self-explanatory, too.

Trail Closed Sign

The English teacher in me wonders who wrote this message and what did they mean by it. Does it mean that there are tours ever Friday and Saturday at 10:00 am, or does it mean that you have to make a reservation to tour it at those times? If by reservation, why only at those times?

Luckily, a considerable number of the petroglyphs are on display next to the parking lot behind a short railing. If you are as fascinated by petroglyphs as I am, you would undoubtably enjoy the display. Here are three petroglyphs that photographed well.

Elk Petroglyph

It’s been far too long since I last studied symbols like this, but the stag certainly seems present in many early cultures.

Circlot’s A Dictionary of Symbols says, “The stag, in several cultures of Asia and pre-Columbian America, came to be thought of as a symbol of regeneration because of the way the antlers are renewed.” The Secret Language of Symbols says, “Shamans have often been depicted dressed as stages, indicating the creature’s role as a symbol of wisdom.”

While it’s obvious that the animals at the top of this petroglyph are Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, the most interesting symbol to me is the one at the bottom of the rock:

Petroglyph

If I didn’t know better, I’d say it represented the devil, horns and all. Of course, it could also represent Pan, but one can only wonder what it means in connection with the sheep.

When I saw this petroglyph

Owl Petroglyph

I assumed it was an owl, right? Do you think it represented wisdom as it so often does in our society?

Sad to think that thousands of these drawings are covered by the backwaters of a dam.

Up the Gorge

The Columbia River is a remarkable place, certainly more remarkable than I could ever convey through a series of photographs … but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to try to do so. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the river is the high cliffs that tower above it.

Here’s a shot from Cape Horn looking eastward.

Cape Horn

At this point the river is still largely forested, but it’s not very far before grasslands, and rocks, dominate the banks.

Columbia Gorge

Further along, Mt. Hood, hundreds of miles away, still stands above the land, providing a startling contrast to this hot, arid land.

Mt. Hood In Distance

Sixty miles up the road, the mountain is still the most obvious landmark, though scab rock has become the dominant land feature.

Looking Back at Mt. Hood Wind Mills Line The Gorge

At times this land seems timeless, unchanging, unless you check the skyline and realize that Progress has made it’s impression even here.

Angel’s Rest

Although the view of the Columbia River from Angel’s Rest is legendary, the haze from California fires obscured it, forcing me to focus instead on Angel’s Rest itself. As a result, I focused my lens on the immediate beauty of this promontory,

Angel's Rest

rugged cliffs,

Climbers descending

twisted trees clinging,

Twisted Tree on Cliff

real-life bonsai,

bright splashes of color sheltered from shredding winds by rock slabs.

Yellow and White Daisies

To

Usually when you hike the 2.6 miles that connects Wahkeena Falls to Angel’s Rest you can count on solitude and an almost hypnotic shift from deep shade to brilliant sunshine, that and the comfort of relatively flat terrain, a welcome relief after the 1.6 mile climb up the Wahkeena trail.

Old-Growth Forest

Tuesday, though, I was also greeted by an outburst of flowers, apparently caused by our unusually wet Spring and last winter’s snowpack. Most of the flowers were ones you would expect to see in early Spring.

My favorite would have to be this Tough-Leaved Iris, a flower I’d only seen once or twice before in my many hikes here.

Tough-Leaved Iris

But there was a huge variety of other flowers competing for the hiker’s attention, too many to show. Here’s a brilliant yellow flower that I can’t remember ever seeing before.

Yellow Flower

There were even more purple flowers, the most abundant being this variety of Penstemon,

Penstemon

followed closely by the Columbine,

Columbine

and the far fewer Columbia Tiger Lilies were impossible to overlook.

Columbia Tiger Lily

Did I mention that I saw more Tough-Leaved Irises in this 2.6 miles than I’ve seen in my entire lifetime?

a bunch of Tough-Leaved Iris

On this day at least, the hike reminded me of the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At times the trail was obscured by the taller flowers, and I was forced to wade my way through flowers to keep going. If I still lived in Vancouver, I would be back up there today rather than sitting here looking into a computer screen.

From Wahkeena Falls

I decided to hike the Columbia Gorge after my dentist appointment in Vancouver Tuesday, thinking it would be a good chance to test my new wide-angle lens. Unfortunately, smoke from California fires made the skies so hazy it was impossible to tell how good the lens was at a distance because you couldn’t see across the Gorge.

Despite my disappointment about the lack of views, it was delightful hike. Wahkanee Falls may be the poor stepsister of the famous Multnomah Falls another mile or two down the gorge, but it’s long been a personal favorite because it draws less of a crowd and because it has a certain intimacy that Multnomah lacks.

Unfortunately, this

is “all” the casual visitor who just walks up to the falls itself gets to see.

Those willing to climb to the top of the Gorge and beyond are treated to the pleasures of viewing a creek up-close and personal, as the trail follows the creek up the cliffs, criss-crossing back and forth on small wooden bridges

creek

and switchback trails

Creek from Trail

that give you a constant view of the creek, with its moss-covered rocks and logs, ferns springing up in the middle of the creek itself,

logs in creek

past small, but spectacular falls

Fairy Falls

until creek and forest become One

Creek Disappearing  into Trees

(or, more precisely, you discover the artesian wells that are ultimately the source of the stream.)