Time Travel Among the Volcanoes

Oh, just a little bit of rock blasted away to make the road cut a couple miles north of Satus Pass, just before cresting the burns and coming down to the Columbia River from the Yakama Indian Reservation, that’s all.P1280855

 Basalt Flow Lying on an Old Streambed

It’s just beautiful, that’s all. Here it was, a creek bed, 55,000,000 years ago, give or take …


… and along comes this hot, burbling lava …


… and cooks it …


… red as brick. (The whole trip south from Union Gap on Highway 97 leads through exquisite basalts, eroded into statuesque pillars, but this place is really something special.) The red colour comes form the plant material (life) present at the time, but so do the channels of the roots in the rock below …


Here’s a closer look!

P1280887Ah, a beautiful woman stopped at the previous rock cut and asked, “I’m just trying to understand…you’re taking pictures of…rocks?” She shook her head in disbelief. “Pillow lavas!” I said, but she didn’t know about pillow lavas, and my explanation was just not taking her anywhere special, so I said, “I’ll take pictures of anything,” which those who know me will agree with, I’m sure, but, sheesh, look at the streambed pebbles working loose, finally (whew!) from that moment when the lava came, before the mountains were the mountains (the rivers were here, though)…

P1280872… and look at the clay that cooked around the rocks and is now breaking off, like eggshells…


Isn’t that, just beautiful? Ah, what a marvellous world. I hope you live where there are volcanoes. If not, you should come and visit.  A road trip in time, that’s always a great reason to put a fire under your feet, right?

4 replies »

  1. Beautiful. That woman just didn’t know how to look. But the red colour — from plant life? I would have guessed at least part of it came from minerals.


  2. That woman was out of her element. It was a great adventure for her to be out of the city. Every moment, I think, was culture shock. Hopefully in a good way! Yes, there must be some minerals involved, but red is an organic signature in cooked rock. And “cooked” is a legitimate scientific term! Without cooking, white or grey or brown. With cooking, colour everywhere! (Often it’s a thin film laid over the rock by hot pool activity. Really big hot pools!)


  3. Your recent posts (this and the series on spiritual technology) feel like they spring from the meeting of your being and the land you’re walking. Thanks for sharing these images and ideas!


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