Washington’s desert

Sun Lakes State Park
Sun Lakes State Park

This is a view from Sun Lakes State Park, just south of Dry Falls in Washington State’s Grand Coulee. I could name many places throughout the southwestern U.S. as well as desert regions of California where you could see scenery like this. Yet I was still in Washington. Pacific Northwesterners don’t have to travel great distances to get a desert fix.

Sun Lakes State Park
Sun Lakes State Park

This is a closer look at the basalt formations of this region. Although the Cascade Mountains to the west of here are a volcanic chain, the basalt flows that form this landscape originated east of here millions of years ago in an area around today’s Lewiston, WA. The area is rife with these basalt pillars. The lower more defined part of the pillars are called colonades. The upper portion is called an entablature. Each is a product of the speed at which the basalt cooled.

6 thoughts on “Washington’s desert”

  1. Very interesting. This is amazing to see scenery like this so far north. Thanks to you Kay today I learned something new and interesting.

  2. The sky in the upper photo is wonderful. One of our closest friends was a geologist who introduced me to many wonders in our magnificent country, but he didn’t tell me about this area. Definitely an oversight! It is beautiful and geologically fascinating besides.

  3. Those basalt pillars are majestic. Love your photos, too; especially the first one with the beautiful clouds floated about in that blue sky. This area looks like it could have been used in various Western movies of earlier years.

  4. We adore this area – I could look at the basalt pillars all day. We’ve been back twice – with plans to go again. It is lovely to meander along the quiet roads – even stopping in the middle of the road to take pictures because there are no cars around for miles. Your photos are fabulous.

    My dear friend’s husband was the ranger at Sun Lakes long ago when their children were very young. There used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken and an A&W Root Beer stand there and my friend loved the convenience of not having to cook on some of the hot days in the summer. She is now a grandmother 7 times over – so it was indeed a long time ago, when restaurants could sell in the parks.

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