Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dry River Canyon

An ancient river cut the canyon in which now "flows" the Dry River. Once draining ancient Lake Millican, the Dry River's course can now be traced through the Oregon Badlands Wilderness north to the Crooked River. The drainage area of Dry River extends eastward to Hampton Butte and southward to the east flank of Newberry Volcano and all of Pine Mountain. During ice ages, Newberry Volcano hosted large glaciers. Runoff from these glaciers contributed to the flow of Dry River.

A hike up the Dry River Canyon trail reveals hints of the energetic river which once flowed here. Rounded boulders, or grounded holes in bedrock caused by churning rock and water, and gravel at the bottom of the canyon show evidence of its watery past. Geological evidence is not the only clue to the canyon's past environment: several large Ponderosa pine trees linger on the canyon bottom, relics of a past ecosystem which prevailed during cooler times. (BLM website)

Dry River? That's like a quiet hurricane. Well, it exists and it's about 20 minutes east of Bend, Oregon in the Badlands Wilderness area. Makes a great hike with the kids in late fall (area closed in winter to protect habitat).

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