RubiKon Adventures

Tales and travels of "GrizzLee", "Looksha Lori" & "Yukon Johann"

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A River Ran Through It - Touring Central Washington's Scablands

A Solo BMW R1200 GS Adventure Experience

The Channeled Scablands are a barren, relatively soil free landscape in eastern Washington, scoured clean by a flood unleashed when a large glacial lake drained. They are a geologically unique feature in the U.S. They were created by the cataclysmic Missoula Floods (reaching flow speeds in excess of 65 mph!) that swept periodically across eastern Washington and down the Columbia River Plateau during the ice age. Planetary scientists have taken note of the these lands as they are the best terrestrial analog for the Martian outflow channels.

Around 15.5 million years ago, the region was lush and wet, home to many plant species now extinct. A number of trees were buried in volcanic ash, and the organic matter in the tree trunks was gradually replaced by minerals in the groundwater; the resulting petrified wood was protected for millennia by flows of basalt. The catastrophic Missoula Floods eroded the basalt, exposing some of the petrified wood. Additionally, remains of prehistoric animals and early natives have been found here. Most notably a Blue Rhinoceros that had been entombed in a lava flow.

GrizzLee spent 3 days solo exploring, camping and hiking the area via motorcycle.

See the video below and share in the experience.

The Yakima River adorning a beautiful spring flower dress

A real petrified forest

Off-road riding in some BLM scablands

Basalt columns and green carpeted coulees

Dry Fall, site of what is believed to be the
world's largest waterfall from the Missoula floods

View from the top of Steamboat Rock down to Banks Lake

The brief flower season and a dead snag ... scenic

Riding along Banks Lake in the heart of the scablands

Sunset over Steamboat making it look like an ancient fortress

The town of Douglas, just outside of Waterville.
Until Next Time...