Lewis and Clark's Columbia River
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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Canoe Ridge, Washington"
Includes ... Canoe Ridge ... Canoe Encampment Rapids ... Whitcomb Island ... Yakima Fold Belt ... Columbia River Basalt Group ...
Image, 2003, Canoe Ridge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Canoe Ridge, Washington. Image taken September 26, 2003.


Canoe Ridge ...
Canoe Ridge, Washington, follows the Columbia River shoreline and extends from upstream of Alder Creek and Crow Butte, to downstream of the Blalock Islands. At its base lies Whitcomb Island. Across the Columbia River on the Oregon side is located the town of Boardman. Today, Canoe Ridge, along with downstream Alder Ridge, is becoming prime vineyard area. Canoe Ridge is one in a series of anticlines occurring along the Columbia Hills Uplift, a part of the Yakima Fold Belt of the Columbia River Basalt Group. As is typical for the region, Canoe Ridge is underlain by an extensive series of thick Miocene-age flood basalts interbedded with sedimentary rocks.

Canoe Encampment Rapids ...
The 1906, USGS 1:125,000 Blalock Island Quadrangle, shows a flat floodplain at the base of Canoe Ridge, with "Canoe Encampment Rapids" located immediately upstream of Crow Butte (which wasn't an island in 1906, but part of the Washington shore), where Crow Butte constricted the Columbia. These rapids are now submerged by Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam. The flat floodplain is now Whitcomb Island, a part of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge, which separates Canoe Ridge from the Columbia River.

1906 Topographic Map ...

Image, 1906, Topographic Map detail, Crow Butte, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
HISTORICAL MAP ... 1906 Topographic Map detail, Crow Butte, Canoe Ridge, and Canoe Encampment Rapids, Washington. Detail from "Blalock Island", 1906, 1:125,000, original map courtesy University of Washington Early Washington Maps Digital Archives.


Canoe Ridge and Umatilla NWR ...
Canoe Ridge forms the backdrop for the Whitcomb Island Unit of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge.

Views ...

Image, 2004, Canoe Ridge, Washington, from Tower Road, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Canoe Ridge, Washington, and Whitcomb Island: Canoe Ridge, Washington, as seen from Tower Road, Oregon. Whitcomb Island is barely discernable along the shoreline (green at base of Canoe Ridge). Image taken September 24, 2004.
Image, 2003, Columbia River and Canoe Ridge, Washington, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Canoe Ridge, Washington: Columbia River as seen from Boardman, Oregon, looking across part of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge (Columbia River Unit). Canoe Ridge, Washington, is in the background. The Whitcomb Island Unit of the Refuge is the greenery along the shore. Image taken September 26, 2003.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, October 20, 1805 ...
A cool morning wind S. W. we concluded to delay untill after brackfast which we were obliged to make on the flesh of dog. after brackfast we gave all the Indian men Smoke, and we Set out leaveing about 200 of the nativs at our Encampment [near Irrigon, Oregon]; passd. three Indian Lodges on the Lard Side a little below our Camp [Irrigon, Oregon] which lodges <we> I did not discover last evening, passed a rapid at Seven miles one at a Short distance below we passed a verry bad rapid, a chane or rocks makeing from the Stard. Side and nearly Chokeing the river up entirely with hugh black rocks [Lewis and Clark called these rapids "Pelican Rapids"] an Island below close under the Stard. Side on which was four Lodges of Indians drying fish,- here I Saw a great number of pelicons on the wing, and black Comerants [American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants]. at one oClock we landed on the lower point of <Some> an Island at Some Indian Lodges, a large Island on the Stard Side nearly opposit and a Small one a little below on the Lard Side on those three Island I counted Seventeen Indian Lodges, ...

[Lewis and Clark are passing through the Blalock Islands area. Today most of the islands are beneath the waters of Lake Umatilla, the reservoir behind the John Day Dam. In this vicinity are today's Boardman, Whitcomb Island, Canoe Ridge, slightly downstream is Crow Butte and historic Castle Rock, along with the many lands of the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge.]

after diner we proceeded on to a bad rapid at the lower point of a Small Island on which four Lodges of Indians were Situated drying fish; here the high countrey Commences again on the Stard. Side [Alder Ridge] leaveing a vallie of 40 miles in width, from the mustle Shel rapid [Umatilla Rapids at the McNary Dam]. examined and passed this rapid close to the Island at 8 miles lower passed a large Island near the middle of the river a brook on the Stard. Side [Alder Creek] and 11 Islds. all in view of each other below, a riverlit [Willow Creek] falls in on the Lard. Side behind a Small Island a Small rapid below. The Star Side is high rugid hills [Alder Ridge], the Lard. Side a low plain and not a tree to be Seen in any Direction except a fiew Small willow bushes which are Scattered partially on the Sides of the bank

The river to day is about 1/4 of a mile in width; this evening the Countrey on the Lard. Side [area around Arlington, Oregon] rises to the hight of that on the Starboard Side [ridge above Roosevelt], and is wavering- we made 42 <days> miles to day [to Roosevelt, Washington]; the current much more uniform than yesterday or the day before. Killed 2 Speckle guls Severl. ducks of a delicious flavour.





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources:    Oregon Bureau of Land Management website, 2004;    Washington State University/University of Washington website, 2004, "Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection";   

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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June 2012