Picture a five-foot brick wall. Place a penny on it, and that would be the size of Niagara Falls compared to the cataclysm of water that flooded Dry Falls during the last ice age. There are a number of theories as to what caused this massive flood, and it took decades for one particularly determined geologist named J Harlen Bretz to convince the scientific community that the aquatic destruction in northern Idaho, northwest Montana and southern Washington was simply unprecedented. Did the walls of an ice dam break, unleashing the flood? Did a comet strafe the polar ice caps, causing a sudden melt that not only resulted in the world’s largest waterfalls, but inspired the ancient stories of Noah's Ark and Atlantis? I contemplate this standing on an extended viewing point overlooking Dry Falls, a canyon stretching 3.5 miles wide and dropping 400 feet. Ten thousand years ago, the surf was up. When it comes to geological wonders, you have to use your imagination, although illustrations in the adjacent visitor centre paint a vivid picture of 100ft waves smashing into the plains. Water picked up giant rocks and dropped them like seeds hundreds of miles away. Incredibly, people and animals were living in this area at the time. If any survived, how would they have described such an event? The end of the world? Punishment from the gods? There are over a dozen Native American flood myths which describe exactly that. Some of them include a great ship built by an honest and noble man to save two of every animal. Sound familiar?
- Scantily-clad girls serving coffee in tiny roadside shacks (seriously).
- Marijuana stores selling legal weed in every form you can imagine
- Outstanding vineyard tasting stores and microbreweries conveniently within walking distance of each other in Woodenville (with Uber available should you indulge)
- Leavensworth, the weird Bavarian town where I ordered something called a chicken-fried steak, and it arrived containing two pork chops smothered in ham gravy and bacon bits.
- Economically depressed towns with strip malls containing more variety of products than you’ll find in most European countries.
- Sun-glassed local sheriffs ready to pull you over if you even look like you ain’t from around these parts.
- Landscapes with ripples ripped into them, kind of like the ripples you’ll see in sand when a wave recedes on a beach (which is kind of what happened here, only it wasn’t a wave on a beach, it was the Flood of Armageddon).