Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Government Cove and Quarry Island, Oregon"
Includes ... Government Cove ... Quarry Island ... Herman Lake ...
Image, 2015, Government Cove, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Government Cove as seen from the HCRH, Oregon. Image taken April 9, 2015.

Government Cove ...
Government Cove, Oregon, is a bay located at Columbia River Mile (RM) 151, upstream of Cascade Locks and Herman Creek, and downstream of the now-vanished community of Wyeth. Goverment Cove is a result of the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir inundating Herman Lake and other lowlands along the Columbia River. In 1975 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made "Government Cove" the official designation for this bay.

Quarry Island ...
Quarry Island is the unofficial name for the rock quarry in the middle of Government Cove.

Government Cove Geology ...
According to Tolan and Beeson (1984), Government Cove, along with Shellrock Mountain, Oregon, and Wind Mountain, Washington, is a microdioritic intrusion. Fragments of Columbia River basalt (xenoliths) have been found in almost all of these intrusives, indicating they are younger than the Columbia River basalt (specifically, Grande Ronde Basalt).

"Most geologists who have studied these intrusions believe that magma from them reached the surface and formed volcanic edifices that were subsequently removed by erosion." [Tolan and Beeson, 1984]

Image, 2013, Government Cove, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Government Cove, Oregon. Image taken February 15, 2013.
Image, 2013, Government Cove, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Quarry Island in Government Cove, Oregon. Interstate 84 in the foreground. Image taken February 15, 2013.

Historic Columbia River Highway ...
[More Historic Columbia River Highway]
[More HCRH Route]

  • HMP ... Government Cove

  • Government Cove:   "Frontage Road, 0.5 miles in length." [National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1983]

Image, 2015, HCRH at Government Cove, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
HCRH at Government Cove, view looking west, Oregon. Image taken April 9, 2015.
Image, 2012, Government Cove, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Government Cove and Quarry Island, Oregon. View from Frontage Road with Interstate 84 in the foreground. Image taken May 11, 2012.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 30, 1805 ...
A cool morning, a moderate rain all the last night, after eating a partial brackfast of venison we Set out [from their camp near Drano Lake and the Little White Salmon River]     passed Several places where the rocks projected into the river & have the appearance of haveing Seperated from the mountains and fallen promiscuisly into the river, Small nitches are formed in the banks below those projecting rocks which is comon in this part of the river, Saw 4 Cascades caused by Small Streams falling from the mountains on the Lard. Side,

[The possiblities in a two-mile area are - upstream to downstream - Starvation Creek and Falls, the seasonal Cabin Creek and Falls, Warren Creek and Falls, Wonder Creek and Lancaster Falls, Lindsey Creek and Falls, and Summit Creek and Falls.]

a remarkable circumstance in this part of the river is, the Stumps of pine trees [Submerged Forest]

[The Submerged Forest existed along the reach from above Dog Mountain/Viento Creek on the upstream edge and Wind Mountain/Shellrock Mountain on the downstream edge.]

are in maney places are at Some distance in the river, and gives every appearance of the rivers being damed up below from Some cause which I am not at this time acquainted with [Bonneville Landslide],     the Current of the river is also verry jentle not exceeding 1 1/2 mile pr. hour and about 3/4 of a mile in width. Some rain, we landed above the mouth of a Small river on the Stard. Side [Wind River] and Dined ...   :  here the river widens to about one mile large Sand bar in the middle, a Great [rock] both in and out of the water, large <round> Stones, or rocks are also permiscuisly Scattered about in the river, ...     this day we Saw Some fiew of the large Buzzard    Capt. Lewis Shot at one, those Buzzards are much larger than any other of ther Spece or the largest Eagle white under part of their wings &c. [California Condor] ...     The bottoms above the mouth of this little river [Wind River] <which we Call> is rich covered with grass & firn & is about 3/4 of a mile wide rich and rises gradually, below the river (which is 60 yards wide above its mouth) the Countery rises with Steep assent. we call this little river <fr Ash> New Timbered river from a Speces of Ash <that wood> which grows on its banks of a verry large and different from any we had before Seen, and a timber resembling the beech in bark <& groth> but different in its leaf which is Smaller and the tree smaller. passed maney large rocks in the river and a large creek on the Stard. Side in the mouth of which is an Island [Rock Creek near Stevenson, Washington], passed on the right of 3 Islands <on> near the Stard. Side, and landed on an Island close under the Stard. Side at the head of the great Shute [head of the Cascades Rapids], and a little below a village of 8 large houses on a Deep bend on the Stard. Side, and opposit 2 Small Islands imediately in the head of the Shute, which Islands are covered with Pine, maney large rocks also, in the head of the Shute. Ponds back of the houses, and Countrey low for a Short distance. The day proved Cloudy dark and disagreeable with Some rain all day which kept us wet. The Countary a high mountain on each Side thickly Covered with timber, Such as Spruc, Pine, Cedar, Oake Cotton &c. &c.     I took two men and walked down three miles to examine the Shute and river below proceeded along an old Indian path, passd. an old village at 1 mile [vicinity of Ice House Lake] ...     I found by examonation that we must make a portage of the greater perpotion of our Stores 2 1/2 miles, and the Canoes we Could haul over the rocks, I returned at Dark ...     a wet disagreeable evening, the only wood we could get to burn on this little Island on which we have encamped [near Ashes Lake, the island is now under the waters of the Bonneville Reservoir. Ashes Lake was near the head of the Cascade Rapids. Across from Ashes Lake is Cascade Locks, Oregon.] is the newly discovered Ash, which makes a tolerable fire. we made fifteen miles to daye

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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

  • McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, Oregon Geographic Names, Oregon Historical Society Press, Portland;
  • Tolan, T.L., Beeson, M.H., and Vogt, B.F., 1984, Exploring the Neogene History of the Columbia River: Discussion and Geologic Field Trip Guide to the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon Geology, vol.46, no.8, August 1984, and vol.46, no.9, September 1984, Published by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries;
  • U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2009;

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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May 2012