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The eastern trail into Ancient Lake Coulee follows a creek with marshland along its course as it drops several hundred feet down a series of waterfalls to the lake-dotted lower coulee. A hiker passes sagebrush, desert wildflowers, prickly hedgehog cactus and a variety of marsh plants along this "desert" hike.
More than 10,000 years ago the Lake Missoula floods created some of the most stunning land forms on earth - studied by NASA for their similarity to Martian landscapes. Much of the eastern half of what is now the state of Washington was scoured down to bedrock by a series of gargantuan flood events, released from an ancient ice-dammed glacial lake that once formed in what is now Montana. The resulting formation of dramatic canyons, coulees, cataracts and flood plains occurred in a mere matter of days, not the millions of years once thought.
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