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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    EWA
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    14,664

    The Blue Mountains (WA/OR)

    Posted this in books but seems like it might also be good here for those interested in learning about and exploring the Blue Mountains of Washington & Oregon. Heck, I know many in the state(s) who were unaware they even existed because much of the focus on WA/OR mountains is on the Cascade range.

    Enjoy!






    New book explains why they call them the Blue Mountains

    They are not the tallest mountains in the West, nor probably the prettiest, but for many people living in northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington, the Blue Mountains are cherished as a close-to-home escape from the modern world.

    To some they may seem plain, as mountains go. They lack towering peaks, permanent snowfields and cirque lakes. But those who have taken the time to explore the Blues, from their high points to the deep canyons, know they are a secret stash of wild country with a great diversity of plants, animals and topography.

    Bob Carson of Walla Walla captured the essence and mystique of the modest yet endearing mountain range in his new book “The Blues: Natural History of the Blue Mountains of Northeastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington.”

    A retired professor of geology and environmental science at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Carson constructed his tome, the fourth he has written, as a mix of a classic coffee-table book with stunning photography and a natural history essay on the range he describes as roughly stretching southwest from Clarkston to Clarno, Ore.

    “That was the goal: something for everybody,” he said. “My goal on these books is that there be something in there for professional geologists and there be something for the interested lay person.”

    Published by Keokee Books of Sandpoint, the book serves as the fourth in a series, with the first three written by the Blue Mountains Land Trust. Carson had help from a host of photographers, with the bulk of heavy lifting by the late Duane Scroggins of Walla Walla and Bill Rodgers of Waitsburg.

    In the book, he touches on the remarkable features of the Blues, including the interesting geology, streams and rivers, and forests and grasslands. He even explains why the mountains are a pleasing deep blue when viewed from afar.

    “They look blue because of the scattering of sunlight in the atmosphere between the observer and the mountains,” he wrote. “The farther you travel from the mountains, the more air between you and them, and the more blue they appear.”

    One of his favorite features is the mix of wet and dry soils that leaves some of the slopes covered with conifers and others blanketed with native grass and wildflowers.

    “The north- and east-facing slopes have magnificent forests, and the south- and west-facing have grasslands and scattered pines. If the whole range were wetter, it would be all forest, and if the whole range were drier, it would all be prairie,” he said. “It’s really amazing and ideal for mammals and birds in terms of hiding from storms, hunters and predators in the forest and doing most of their foraging out in the meadows.”

    The mountains weren’t high enough to be glaciated. So instead of U-shaped canyons carved by slow-moving ice, they’ve been eroded by tumbling and twisting streams and rivers, leaving them steep and V-shaped. The spongelike nature of the basalt bedrock absorbs some of the water during spring runoff, which later seeps back into streams, leaving them with plenty of water even during the scorching months of July and August.

    The mountains, occupying a relatively unpopulated region, offer ample solitude for visitors, Carson writes:

    “The Blues are sparsely populated. One can drive the roads for miles, seeing more deer than vehicles. A herd of elk may graze in a meadow on a ridge in the grass-tree mosaic. A black bear may be moving slowly along a slope, looking for food. A coyote may run, then turn back to look at the visitor. Unlike other mountain areas in the Pacific Northwest, rarely does one see others when hiking in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness.”

    The book is available online at http://keokeebooks.com/ or in Walla Walla at the Blue Mountain Land Trust, Whitman College Book Store and Earthlight Books.
    Kindness is a bridge between all people

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  2. #2
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    Dec 2008
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    Thanks, putting that book on my wish list. Love the blues

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    168
    Looks like a good read. The Strawberry section in the south is great hiking and exploring.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Mesa
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    He was a Geology professor of mine, knows his stuff. The Blues are a great place to explore.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    In a parallel universe
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    4,355
    Very high on my list of places to explore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    EWA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bromontane View Post
    Thanks, putting that book on my wish list. Love the blues
    Happy to share!




    Quote Originally Posted by Storm Hood View Post
    Looks like a good read. The Strawberry section in the south is great hiking and exploring.
    The Strawberry Mountain Wilderness has always interested me but I've yet to make it there.




    Quote Originally Posted by Cayuse View Post
    He was a Geology professor of mine, knows his stuff. The Blues are a great place to explore.
    So cool - I was wondering about your screen name and if it was somehow tied to this area.



    Quote Originally Posted by ACH View Post
    Very high on my list of places to explore.
    Don't miss the chance when you get it. Lots to do and see!
    Kindness is a bridge between all people

    Dunkiní Donuts Worker Dances With Customer Who Has Autism

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    4,554
    I am fond of the Blues.

    Watched the 2017 eclipse from high in the range.



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    Ok skiing, too.

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    PE, Mechanical Engineering
    University of Bridger Bowl Alumnus
    Alpental Creeper

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