Columbia Gorge and Hood River, Oregon

Oct 13, 2018 - National Geographic Quest


The first light of dawn found us sailing upstream on the Great River of the West, the Columbia, and into the heart of the Columbia Gorge. The stars of Orion the Mighty Hunter were dimming in the south and soon Beacon Rock loomed ahead in the distance.  This passage from interior Washington to the Pacific Ocean was carved by the Columbia River. The Columbia, an antecedent river, was here before the Cascade Range rose and the river maintained its course to the sea by cutting downward as fast as the mountains rose, forming the Columbia Gorge. The growing light revealed high cliffs of layered lava; these are stacked flows of the Columbia River Basalt Province, in which we will be sailing for most of our journey on the rivers. At the Bonneville Dam, we passed through our first of eight locks on this journey and proceeded on to Hood River for our day’s excursions. Excursions included enjoying a magnificent view of Mount Hood while sampling fruit at the Draper Girls Farm, hiking the Historic Columbia River Highway to the Mosier Tunnels, and visiting the amazing Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAM); you have to see it to believe it.

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About the Author

Grace Winer

Naturalist

Geologist and naturalist, Grace is a Montanan now living in Seattle. Grace received her degrees in geology (BS and MSc) from Montana State University. Funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society, she pursued her master’s degree in Alaska’s remote Pribilof Islands. Here she investigated the volcanic evolution of St. Paul Island, creating a geologic map, and predicting volcanic hazards in the event of a future eruption. Her knowledge of the Pribilof Islands and the Bering Sea region led to her work as a consulting geologist on St. George Island for NOAA’s Pribilof Restoration Project.

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