Monday, July 05, 2010

Stonehenge, American Style

I was selected to attend a work-related conference in Yakima, WA, on the east and deserty side of the Cascade Mountains. Although not seen as the ideal destination, I jumped at the opportunity to travel the Columbia River Gorge to the fruit center of the state, where I would be able to catch a quick visit with my sister-in-law. I worked long into the day I left, giving me few photo opportunities on my way there, but when I arrived, I was greated with the above view from my motel room over the Yakima River Greenbelt...doesn't look much like a desert to me...

After two days of conference, I was ready for a trip back through the Gorge during daylight. This was the first time I saw the wind "vultures' twisting above the river, generating electricity, but causing great havoc with bird populations killed by the rapidly turning blades. They looked like sentinels standing watch over the army standing ready to face an unknown enemy.

But the real treat for me was an opportunity to stop at the Stonehenge replica built to memorialize soldiers killed in World War I. Built by Sam Hill of "where in the world is Sam Hill" fame in Marysville, WA overlooking the river, it is what Stonehenge would look like if the years had not worn it away.

To see the river flow below through windows in the rock is breathtaking. To have it to myself to breath in the solitude and beauty was a special treat. It is a powerful place to be.

I wish I'd had more time to explore, sorry not to have the opportunity to visit my other sister-in-law, but off home again to get ready to teach in Idyllwild. I dream of the day when I can stop and listen to the wind, feel the sun on my face, and spend time with friends and family without looking at my watch...


Jen Crossley said...

Really amazing Pictures Jan ,it looks awesome

Stu Wiley said...

Love your wind turbine shot, really amazing.

As a Pacific Northwest resident and long term Gorge "wind junkie", Oregon Trail and history fanatic I can make a small point of correction - the Sam Hill euphemism isn't from the Samuel Hill who built the Stonehenge Memorial.

The millionaire Samuel Hill of Maryhill, a businessman and "good roads" advocate in the Pacific Northwest became associated with the phrase in the 1920s. Well after the phrase became widespread from mass publication. The phrase has quite a few claimants, including a store owner in Prescott, AZ who would bring in a variety of merchandise unfamiliar to customers. "What the Sam Hill is that thing?"
This spread through the west, as it was already established as a euphemism for swearing. What teh Sam Hill, Where the Sam Hill...etc. Nothing to do with Samuel though - sorry.