On the Road Adventures

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11 - Boardman, OR

What a difference in terrain we’ve had in the past 3 days. For the past 3 months we’ve been in country defined by ice. Glacial valleys ground out in graceful U-shapes, rivers eating away at hundreds of feet of glacial silt deposits. We could look across a valley and find the terminal moraine of an ancient ice field, or the lateral moraines that had been carried along by a river of ice. This is the valley on the west side of the Canadian Rockies where the Columbia River forms where we were yesterday morning.

Now, just a day from country formed by ice we are in territory that was forged by fire. The landscape is flat, with the horizon far, far away, and vast fields of wheat or hay spread out as far as we can see, broken only by outcropings of black basalt from the old lava flows that once completely covered this part of the country to depths of a hundred feet or more. It was an almighty lot of lava that came bursting up out of the ground those tens of thousands of years ago.

We’re staying two nights at Boardman, one of our favorite camp grounds. It’s right on the Columbia River where I-84 turns west to run along the length of the river to Portland. The river is quite thoroughly tamed with a series of dams and locks, so it’s more like a lake, and absolutely calm. The sunset was spectacular, and we will have a full compliment of stars in the sky in another hour.

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