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WA Sacred Sites
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 Cascade Mtn Range, WA (summer)
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  Mount Ranier, Washingtion
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 Saint Helens Spirit Lake
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  Mt. Washington above Big Lake
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  Mount Baker, Cascade Range, WA
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  Lake Lillian, Cascade Mountains
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  Horse Thief Lake, WA

                      CASCADE VOLCANOES, WASHINGTON

 

In the state of Washington lies the heart of the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest.  Famous for the totem poles of the Northwest Coast Indians, the spectacular scenery and the abundant land and sea resources allowed indigenous people to uniquely interpret their role in nature for thousand of years.  “The Earth is our mother” and the “Sun is our father" were common expressions among the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. 

 

The various tribes of Washington co-existed peacefully until the arrival of European explorers who were intent on taking as much of the natural resources as they could.  But even during then first few hundred years of contact with foreigners, the land remained mostly unexplored virgin territory.  Only 300 settlers lived north of the Columbia River in the early 1800’a when Washington was part of the Oregon territory.  It became its own territory in 1853.

 

The population boomed after the railroad came through in the 1880’s leading to statehood in 1889.  the growth of the timber industry and the lucrative outfitting of the Klondike gold rushers in the late 1890’s paved the way for a complete transformation away from the Native American fishing settlements to the Modern Age, dominated today by aircraft manufacturing and technology sectors.

 

The Cascade Mountain Range stretches from southern British Columbia in Canada to Northern CA and encompasses many sacred peaks that stand out like snow-capped jewels in this spectacular volcanic mountain chain.  The mot renowned Cascade Volcanoes are Mt. Ranier, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Baker.  A variety of Native American sites can be found in nearby caves, hot and cold water springs and dormant volcano vents.

 

A truly amazing aspect of the Cascades is how the new the mountain range is and how steep the mountains rise.  The base of Mt Ranier soars above the sea level of Tacoma to 14,410 feet as the tallest mountain in the Cascade Range as well as the tallest peak in Washington State.   Most of the Cascade Volcanoes are typified bt deep vocanic gorges shadowed by some of the loftiest peaks on the North American Continent.  Because the mountains lie just east of the rain drenched Pacific Coast, the western slopes blend off into high desert terrain.

 

Native Americans particularly revered Mt. Ranier, calling it "Takoma" meaning, the "Great White Mountain."  They refused to disgrace the glacier-clad peak by climbing it and gave it a wide berth when passing nearby.  Early European explorers found that the Indians were actually afraid of the mountain-- it was one of the few areas they were unable to guide the explorers.

 

This area remained totally unexplored until the mid 19th century.  Native Americans also claimed the mountain was an active volcano with a :lake of fire” at the summit.  These legends were dismissed as folklore until the first ascent of the peak in 1870 confirmed numerous steam vents and a lake at the top formed by melting snow. 

 

Geologists have verified the Indian legends dating the last Mt. Ranier eruption to 5800 years ago.  Each of the Cascade Volcanoes is cloaked in myth and folklore.  Mt. Saint Helens is called the Little Sister by tribes of the Pacific Northwest.  Mt Ranier is her grandfather. 

 

In some of the most remote and deeply forested regions of the Pacific Northwest, particularly around the wilderness regions of the Cascades, have been hundreds of sightings of Bigfoot.    Described as being anthropomorphic with somewhat human facial features, 8-10 feet between 800-1000 pounds, excessively hairy, horrible smelling, omnivorous, mostly but not exclusively nocturnal, solitary and essentially gentile.  The Chehalis Indians of British Columbia named this creature Sasquatch.

 

Another phenomena of the Cascade volcanoes is the numerous UFO sightings above the mountain tops.  Many recordings and stories have been documented of occurrences including multiple silver discs moving in formations.  According to many UFO researchers, these extraterrestrial visitors regularly come into this area.  They explain that the volcanoes contain large subterranean cavities where inter-dimensional spacecraft can re-materialize into our 3rd dimensional world unmolested.  Military aircraft, especially black helicopters are commonly seen in this same airspace shortly following a UFO sighting.  Such reporting on paranormal activity only increases the legends and folklores of the Cascade Volcanoes.

 

 

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                             Mount Baker, Washington

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  Columbia River Gorge, WA
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 Columbia River Gorge-WA/OR Border
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 Falls River, Columbia River Gorge
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  Columbia River Gorge, WA
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 Beacon Rock, Columbia River Gorge
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 Lewis River Falls, Washington

                               COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, WASHINGTON

 

One of the most dramatic canyons in North America extends along the north Oregon and south Washington state borders.  It is called the Columbia River Gorge and is the largest national scenic area in the United States.  The Gorge functions like a wind tunnel, generating 30-knot winds as pressure differentials in weather east and west of the Cascades find an outlet in the deep cut of the Gorge. Beyond its physical beauty, the gorge was a Native American settlement for at least 1000 years before the arrival of the first European settlers.  

 

Indian bands of the Columbia Gorge are the Cascades, Watlala, Wasco, and Wishram. These tribes all possessed a common understanding of the world.  To thee tribes, the animal deity Coyote created it and for everything to be right, each person had to follow these traditions.  These traditions passed from generation to generation through  tales told during the icy times of winter—the months of the long moons.  The American Indian way of life quickly changed after Lewis and Clark came down the Columbia River Gorge in the early 19th century followed by Oregon Trail pioneers who viewed the Indians as a hindrance obstructing their westward expansion.

 

Scattered along the gorge are many indications that the native people held this particular stretch of the river sacred.  Dozens of petroglyphs illustrate aspects of Indian life and mythology, often depicting thje Indians in an inter-connected relationship with the land.  The most famous petroglyph is called Tsagaglalal. Which means, “She Who watches” and is located on a cliff over-looking the Columbia River and Horse Theif State Park.

 

The most visible sacred site in the gorge is Beacon Rock, named by Lewis and Clark who were the first white men to see the rock and camped at its base in 1805 in route to the Pacific Ocean.   The sheer mass of the columnar andesitic basalt rock formation is all that’s left form the core of an ancient volcano eroded away by the The ice-age floods and the Columbia River.  Standing as a giant monolith rising 825 feet above trhe Columbia River, Beacon Rock is the second largest freestanding rock in the world after the Gibraltar in Spain.  Local Indian tribes knew Beacon Rock as Che-che-op-tin, meaning “the navel of the world. 

 

Beacon Rock served as a landmark for river travelers for hundreds of years. The Indians knew it marked the last of the rapids on the Columbia River and the beginning of tidal influence from the Pacific Ocean, 150 miles away.  They camped at its base in November of 1805, noting the rock in their journal and giving it its present name. In 1811, Alexander Ross, of the John Jacob Aster expedition, called the rock Inshoack Castle, and it was known as "Castle Rock" until the United States Board of Geographic Names officially restored the title of "Beacon Rock", in 1961

The Columbia River Gorge has been a recognized sacred place to native people for thousands of years.  There is evidence that the location was one of the earliest settlements on the North American continent.  The famous archeological find, Kennewick Man was carbon dated to at least 9000 years old showing that he was in the Pacific Northwest around the year 7200 BCE.  Identified by anthropologists as Caucasoid, the Kennewick Man bears no resemblance to the typical Mongolian stock to which the Native American originated. 

This research suggests that white voyagers migrated to the west coast of North America over 9000 years ago and mixed with the numerically dominant Native American tribes.  It is possible to hike to the summit of Beacon Rock along a chiseled trail that is fairly steep.  Unfortunately the government destroyed the site of the Kennewick Man’s discovery by dropping 500 tones of dirst and rock on it because Native American interest groups pressure, prompting researchwrs to call the totality of the government’s actions “beyond negligent.”

 

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   Punch Bowl Falls, Eagle Creek, Columbia River Gorge