Pain 1Were on the home stretch. We made it into Oregon and had our first view of  the Columbia River today.

79-Umatilla, OR We took the  day slow take in the history of the region. This is more than just the home of the Walla Walla onion. It is home to numerous Indian tribes including the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla. These tribes traded with the French fur traders that followed close on the heels of Lewis & Clark. By 1811 Britian had placed a flag at mouth of the Snake River and within 7 years Fort Nez Perces was built at the head of the Walla Walla River. This eventually became a Hudson Bay Company whose French-Candadian employees were on good terms with the Indians, many of whom they married. These families typically lived in here in what is called “Frenchtown” and they spawned a whole new culture with unique languages, clothes, food and music. This harmony did not last many generations. The large influx of settlers, many migrating along the Oregon Trail, scared the Indians. A measles epidemic thought to have been spread by the Whitman Mission in 1947 led to the massacre of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and 11 others. Also, in 1855, the longest battle in the history of the Washington Territory was fought here between these 3 tribes and Oregon settlers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The confluence of the Snake and Columbia Rivers is submerged under Lake Wallula, the reservoir of the McNary Dam. It is 325 miles from here to the Pacific Ocean. This road follows basalt cliffs which are notable in a number of ways.  The dual rock pillars are according to legend actually 2 Cayuse sisters that were turned to stone by the supernatural powers of the coyote. He tricked a total of 3 sisters into becoming his wives but became jealous of them eventually and changed 2 into these pillars and one into a cave further downstream.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA More importantly, this junction is extremely geologically important and has been designated a National Natural Landmark by the Park Service because it illustrates the geologic history of the U.S. The following photos show the Wallula Gap, the location of  where the ice dam burst from the flow of Glacial Lake Missoula during the last ice age. These were a series of at least 40 floods with an average interval of 30 years and the last occurring 13,000 years ago and are the largest known floods in the last 2 million years. The crest at this point reached 1200′ and has been calculated to having reached speeds of over 60 mph. This resulted in giant ripple marks on the landscape with mounds 30′ high. FUDb-day.81b-079OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This lower stretch of the Columbia River is dammed and the dams themselves monitor fish counts and provide viewing platforms. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  1  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA