Lake Natural Area is just east of the Columbia River in eastern
Washington state. It provides good evidence, with sagebrush and
rattlesnakes, that the state's moniker of the "Evergreen
State" does not apply to vast stretches of Washington. Ancient
Lake is much more reminiscent of the old west than the soggy,
Pacific Northwest that most people envision.
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in the Coulee - Ancient Lake Wildlife Area, Washington State
waterfall plunges into Ancient Lake from the Columbia Plateau.
A steep hiking trail follows along the left side of the falls.
Ancient Lake lies in a coulee that opens to the Columbia River.
It has long been an oasis for raptors, coyotes, bats and various
other desert dwellers like rattlesnakes, quails and chukars.
The coulees potholelakes eventually dried out after the great
floods (see below), and are now replenished by agricultural runoff
- the surrounding plateau is covered with large-scale, Columbia
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 long believed.
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