Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Horse Heaven Hills, Washington"
Includes ... Horse Heaven Hills ... Horse Heaven Hills Anticline ...
Image, 2005, Horse Heaven Hills from Sacajawea State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Mouth of the Snake River looking towards the Columbia River, at the Horse Heaven Hills. Fishing docks are at Sacajawea State Park. Image taken September 25, 2005.


Horse Heaven Hills ...
The Horse Heaven Hills is a large area of rolling hills on the west side of the Columbia River, between the Yakima River and the Wallula Gap. The hills provide a backdrop for the "Tri-Cities" of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick. According to Hitchman in Place Names of Washington (1985), the Horse Heaven Hills were named in 1881 by James Kinney, a Yakima pioneer, "because the area offers excellent forage and compartive isolation". Large bands of wild horses once roamed the area.

Lewis and Clark and the Horse Heaven Hills ...
On October 16, 1805, Lewis and Clark and the "Corps of Discovery" arrived at the junction of the Snake River with the Columbia River and laid eyes on the hills. Clark wrote:

"... river wide Countrey on each side low, a rainge of hills on the west imedeately in front of the opposit side of Columbia ..." [Clark, October 16, 1805, first draft]

"... In every direction from the junction of those rivers the Countrey is one Continued plain low and rises from the water gradually, except a range of high Countrey which runs from S. W & N E and is on the opposit Side about 2 miles distant from the Collumbia and keeping its derection S W untill it joins a S W. range of mountains. ..." [Clark, October 16, 1805]

The "range of high Countrey" is today's Horse Heaven Hills and the "S W. range of mountains" is the Blue Mountains of Oregon and Idaho. Lewis and Clark's camp of October 16 and 17, 1805, was at the junction of the Snake River and the Columbia River, today the location of Washington's Sacajawea State Park.


Views ...

Image, 2003, Kennewick and Horse Heaven Hills from Sacajawea State Park, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Homes of Kennewick, Washington, and the Horse Heaven Hills. Looking across the Columbia River towards the Horse Heaven Hills. Image taken from Sacajawea State Park, Washington, September 29, 2003.

"Countrey on each side low, a rainge of hills, on the west imedeately in front on the opposit side of Columbia"
[Clark, October 16, 1805, first draft]


Horse Heaven Hills Geology ...
The Horse Heaven Hills is an anticline in the Yakima Fold Belt, which was formed by north-south compression of Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) lava flows. The CRBG is divided into five formations - the Saddle Mountains, Wanapum, Grande Ronde, Imnaha, and Picture Gorge Basalts. The majority of the CRBG flows are Early Miocene, between 17 and 5.5 million years old, and were erupted from north-south fissures near the present-day Washington-Idaho border. The CRBG consists of approximately 300 thick sequences of flood basalt flows, each flow from 10 to over 100 feet in thickness, with an estimated eruptive volume of at least 700 cubic miles, making them the largest documented individual lava flows on Earth. The flows reached maximum thickness of 16,000 feet in the Pasco Basin, and in the Columbia River Gorge, 21 flows poured through forming layers of rock up to 2,000 feet thick. Concurrent with the CRBG eruptions was the folding and faulting of the basalt in the western part of the Columbia Basin, creating the "Yakima Fold Belt" of anticlines and synclines.
[More]

Old Grain Dumping Silo ...

Image, 2006, Old Grain Silo, from Interstate 82/395, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Old Grain Dumping Silo, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. View from driving along Interstate 82/395. Yellow "Rabbitbush" (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) is in the foreground. Image taken September 29, 2006.


Views from Interstate 82/395 ...
Fields, sagebrush and wind turbines.

Image, 2005, Horse Heaven Hills from Interstate 82/395, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. View from driving along Interstate 82/395. Image taken October 2, 2005.
Image, 2005, Horse Heaven Hills from Interstate 82/395, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Clouds, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. View from driving along Interstate 82/395. Image taken September 30, 2005.
Image, 2005, Horse Heaven Hills from Interstate 82/395, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Summit, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington, looking north. View from driving along Interstate 82/395. Image taken September 30, 2005.
Image, 2006, Windmills and Horse Heaven Hills from Interstate 82/395, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Wind Turbines on Horse Heaven Hills, Washington. View from driving along Interstate 82/395. Image taken October 2, 2006.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 16, 1805, first draft ...
S. 28 W. 6 ˝ miles to the Junction of Columbia R. in the Point Stard [Sacajawea State Park, where the Snake River joins the Columbia River] Passed the rapid opposit the upper Point of the Said Island and Passed a Small Isd. on Lard Side opposit, passed the lower point of the Island on Stard Side at 2 ˝ miles a gravelley bare in the river at 3 miles, river wide Countrey on each side low, a rainge of hills on the west imedeately in front of the opposit side of Columbia [Horse Heaven Hills]


Clark, October 16, 1805 ...
In every direction from the junction of those rivers [Snake River with the Columbia River] the Countrey is one Continued plain low and rises from the water gradually, except a range of high Countrey which runs from S. W & N E and is on the opposit Side about 2 miles distant from the Collumbia and keeping its derection S W [Horse Heaven Hills] untill it joins a S W. range of mountains [Blue Mountains].






Clark, October 17, 1805 ...
I took two men in a Small Canoe and assended the Columbia river 10 miles to an Island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Shore on which two large Mat Lodges of Indians were drying Salmon, ... there is no timber of any Sort except Small willow bushes in Sight in any direction - from this Island the natives showed me the enterance of a large Westerly fork which they Call Tâpetętt [Yakima River] at about 8 miles distant, the evening being late I deturmined to return to the forks [Snake River with the Columbia River, to their camp at today's Sacajawea State Park], at which place I reached at Dark. from the point up the Columbia River is N. 83° W. 6 miles to the lower point of an Island near the Lard. Side passed a Island in the middle of the river at 5 miles [Clover Island] at the head of which is a rapid, not dangerous on the Lard Side opposite to this rapid is a fishing place 3 Mat Lodges, and great quants. of Salmon on Scaffolds drying. ... The Waters of this river is Clear, and a Salmon may be Seen at the deabth of 15 or 20 feet. West 4 miles to the lower point of a large island [Bateman Island] near the Stard. Side at 2 Lodges, passed three large lodges on the Stard Side near which great number of Salmon was drying on Scaffolds ... I Set out & halted or came too on the Island at the two Lodges [Bateman Island]. Several fish was given to me, in return for Which I gave Small pieces of ribbond from those Lodges the natives Showed me the mouth of Tap teel River [Yakima River] about 8 miles above on the west Side this western fork appears to beare nearly West, The main Columbia river N W.- a range of high land to the S W and parralal to the river and at the distance of 2 miles on the Lard. Side, [Horse Heaven Hills] the countrey low on the Stard. Side, and all Coverd. with a weed or plant about 2 & three feet high and resembles the whins. I can proceive a range of mountains to the East which appears to bare N. & South distant about 50 or 60 miles [Blue Mountains]. no wood to be Seen in any derection ...





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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, 2004.

Sources:    Hitchman, R., 1985, Place Names of Washington, Washington Historical Society;    Morace, et.al., 1998;    Norman, D.K, Busacca, A.J., and Teissere, R., 2004, Geology of the Yakima Valley Wine Country -- A Geologic Field Trip Guide from Stevenson to Zillah, Washington, Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources Field Trip Guide 1, June 2004;    Reidel, S., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory;    Swanson and Wright, 1981;   

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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August 2016