Dalles Mountain Road and Beyond

To keep myself busy during this time of grieving for my Noelani girl, I’ve been downloading all my photos from PictureTrail. Now I have plenty of food for my posts. Here’s the continuation of our trip up and down Dalles Mountain Road, which I’d mostly finished before Noelani went over the Rainbow Bridge.

After we drove down to Horsethief Lake and were astounded to learn that there were many ancient Indian petroglyphs set up in a long, walk-through display. The stones were brought here from an island that was being covered by water, so this is not their original site. I found out that Horsethief Lake is part of Columbia Hills State Park. It’s a 3,338-acre camping park with 7,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. Horsethief Butte dominates the skyline. It stands over the lake like an ancient castle. The lake itself is about 90 acres in size and is actually an impoundment of the Columbia River. The lake was flooded into existence by the reservoir created by The Dalles Dam.

Seeing the petroglyphs was wonderful, and a lesson to both of us that “only the rocks live forever”, to quote Lame Beaver’s father in “Centennial”, the wonderful TV series. As usual, my imagination ran wild, trying to picture the artists who so long ago carved the images into the rocks.

Who carved this? What did he look like? What thoughts were in his mind as he worked? And was it necessarily a man?

These images gave us a glimpse of life long ago.

The park contains Native American pictographs (paintings) and petroglyphs (carvings). Some of the oldest pictographs in the Northwest are found in this park. Artifacts associated with local tribes can be seen at the nearby Maryhill Museum of Art and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center.

I found this one to be especially fascinating.

Oh, how I wish there was some way to communicate with these artists besides their art work!

I really was happy that the artists chose to make their art available to all of us, and that they had the need to preserve these for generations to come, and to make statements about their lives. I wonder if I’m small kine doing the same thing here in my bloggie.

This is the walkway that separates the petroglyphs from the parking area. The petroglyphs are to the right of the walkway. We got lucky… a train was going by at the same time we were there! Yay!

I wish I knew the meaning of these beautiful carvings! Maybe I can Google them.

Old Cemetery near Horsethief Lake. From the Washington State Parks website:

Oral history states that the park received its former name — Horsethief Lake State Park — from workers in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who developed the site. The workers thought the terrain was similar to that of horsethief hideouts in popular 1950s Hollywood westerns. The abundance of horses kept on the premises by local Indians apparently gave the workers their inspiration.

We drove back up the mountain after going to Horsethief Lake to ask the ranger if I could get a lilac sucker from Dalles Mountain Ranch, but he was busy with a tour. The bush was really lovely.

Close-up of nearby Lupine.

We headed back down again and saw this lovely view. And oh, the wildflowers! Arrowhead Balsamroot, Wild Phlox, and Lupine were glorious together.

Wild phlox.

Sorry so blurry.

Further down the road, looking makai.

I finally got some photos of a Western Kingbird. I’d tried before, but they’re pretty flighty.

Looking across the river at the Columbia River Gorge.

Mt Hood was barely visible. I felt bad that there weren’t any cows around for AFK to see.

After leaving Dalles Mountain Ranch, we drove down the highway towards Lyle, Washington. This is Canyonville Road.

It’s easy to see why the road is named Canyonville.

Our first view of the Columbia River while heading down the hill.

The Pacific Northwest is so beautiful!

The White Salmon River flows to the Columbia.

We crossed the Columbia River over Bridge of the Gods. This was taken from the middle of the river.

On the Bridge of the Gods, we see a train!

Looking makai from the middle of Bridge of the Gods.

Sort of close-up of the train.

K’den. What a glorious trip this was, back and forth, up and down. Yes, the road on Dalles Mountain Road is primitive, but our van did just fine. If you haven’t ever taken this trip, it’d be worth your while, especially in May when the wildflowers are blooming!

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2 Responses to Dalles Mountain Road and Beyond

  1. AFK says:

    Moki-chan, thank you for sharing all of your photos. The petroglyphs are just fascinating. I wonder how long it took each artist to finish each piece? And were the petroglyphs meant to be prayers? What were they meant to communicate?

    I didn’t need to see cows on the hillsides to make me happy. Thanks for sharing the beautiful wide-open spaces that you traveled through.

    • Mokihana says:

      Mahalo for stopping by, AFK. I wonder the same thing as you. I wonder if all the answers are in oral history somewhere.

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