From Stonehenge to the Tacoma Narrows


After spending the night in The Dalles, Oregon, I crossed the Columbia River on Highway 97, which is the bridge pictured here, looking back on it from the Washington side.


I noticed this strange structure on the next hill and wondered what sort of ruin this could be. When soon afterwards I saw a sign for “Stonehenge,” I decided it was definitely worth checking out!


As it turned out, this is indeed a full-size concrete replica of the actual Stonehenge in England.


A local businessman named Sam Hill visited the original Stonehenge in England during World War I and was so moved that after the war he spent years planning and organizing the building of this, the so-called Maryhill Stonehenge, as a war memorial to American soldiers killed in World War I.


Afterwards, I proceeded west along the Columbia. The road is high in the sky on top of the gorge walls. It does seem a perfect location for these wind turbines. Take a look at the grouping of tiny black dots in the lower right area. Those are cows! It does bring home the size of these turbines!


Wishram is a small town of only 213 inhabitants but is an important hub of railway activity. This is the Amtrak station in Wishram.


This train just sat there, with the locomotive periodically letting out a big sigh. I couldn’t see the end of the train.


An original Baldwin steam locomotive was on display near the rail yard, but unfortunately the protective roof and fencing were placed in such proximity to the locomotive that it was virtually impossible to photograph it; it was even difficult to just look at it!


The logo of the Great Northern Railway.


The size of the thing was absolutely shocking! It was like a two-story building on wheels! It couldn’t have been anything but terrifying to see this massive machine moving and making noise.


Wishram was once known as Fallbridge. This building housed Bunn’s Store. The mural was painted in 2014 by Scott and Felicia Gray to celebrate the 100th birthday of the town. Depicted are the nearby cascading waterfalls known as Celilo Falls and Chief Tommy Thompson of Celilo Village. For at least 15,000 years, these falls on the Columbia were the lifeblood of tribal culture in the region, especially in terms of catching salmon. Chief Thompson lived to his late 90s and never stopped fighting for his tribe, especially against the plan to build The Dalles Dam. However, the hydroelectric dam went ahead and was completed in 1957, at which time Celilo Falls were silenced and disappeared beneath an artificial lake. Celilo Village also was flooded. Chief Thompson died in 1959. I knew none of this when I took the photo, but I’m glad it led me to discover this history.


And there behind those clouds is Mt. Hood! It’s amazing how big mountains can be so hard to photograph!


Blanca gets to sample the Klickitat River. I had made a little scenic loop but then circled back to Highway 97 and towards Yakima.


While stopped at a red light in Toppenish, this gas station caught my eye. We had a great break here and walked in Pioneer Park. It had been another long day of driving and exploring. Then I continued on to Yakima, where I found a somewhat delapidated Motel 6 that was half empty and comfortably peaceful. It rained during the night, and I got a very early start the next morning with beautiful sunshine, heading towards Mt. Rainier on Highway 410.


To my great surprise, I came upon this scene! A group of 25 to 50 bighorn sheep was in the middle of the highway licking the pavement! According to another driver who stopped, they were licking the remains of winter salt treatment against icy roads. You can faintly make out the yellow schoolbus approaching from the opposite direction. As much as I was enthralled by seeing these wild animals for the first time, I was terribly worried something awful could happen and a driver might not see them in time! The schoolbus driver did see them but pulled up very close and honked the horn and irreverently drove past them as quickly as possible without the slightest moment taken to marvel at them!


This baby looks as cute as a teddybear!


This group consisted entirely of females as the males are the ones for whom the species is named Bighorn Sheep! They have the big round horns that curl back to almost form a circle.


It was amazing to watch them effortlessly move up steep rocky cliffs.


Highway 410 shortly before entering Mt. Rainier National Park. We stopped for a very short hike at Union Creek.


Looking back towards the east from Chinook Pass, elevation 5430 feet (1655 m).


This was the site of the lowest temperature during our trip. (2.7 Celsius)


But it was warm enough for the snow to be actively melting.


And before long we found ourselves in the middle of metropolitan Puget Sound! Heavy traffic does not make allowances for dusting off the memory banks when it comes to knowing your way around town, and so it happened that I somehow ended up traveling across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge without intending to do so! After that was done, why not search for a vantage point for some photos? And that’s how I discovered little Narrows Park!


We had a fantastic walk on a lonely rocky beach underneath the twin bridges. The bridge on the left was built in 1950 and now carries the westbound traffic towards Gig Harbor. It used to be the only bridge until the sheer volume of traffic exceeded what it was designed for. Therefore, the new bridge on the right was completed in 2007 and carries the eastbound traffic into Tacoma.


A rain squall moved through the area and we got a little wet!


Blanca vigorously barking at the tugboat! It was pulling a barge.


You can still see the barge and the little tugboat outfront. And the wonderful big sky of Washington!


A few minutes later, the sky was blue again! Next and final gazette from this trip: Mt. Rainier to Coquille


  1. John Hayes August 18, 2016 at 3:20 am #

    A few years ago I crossed that same bridge and noticed that same structure and headed up there, like you, for a visit. I also took pictures but yours came out much better than mine. 🙂

    • Claudia Kuenkel August 21, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, John! Did you get rained on, too? 🙂 It was a great walk and a good breather to get away from all the traffic.

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