Columbia River and Ginkgo Petrified Forest

Starting from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, the Columbia River winds through my home state of Washington before flowing into the Pacific Ocean. I like to sing Woody Guthrie’s song whenever I cross the River.

“Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on!”

Last weekend before we crossed the River at Vantage, we stopped first at Ginkgo Petrified Forest, where the stony trees seemed to glow under gray skies.

According to Wikipedia, “Around 15.5 million years ago, the region was lush and wet, home to many plant species now extinct. A number of these trees were buried in volcanic ash, and the organic matter in the tree trunks was gradually replaced by minerals in the groundwater; the resulting petrified wood was protected for millennia by flows of basalt.  Near the end of the last ice age, the catastrophic Missoula Floods eroded the basalt, exposing some of the petrified wood.”

The visitors center was closed and so after a short walk we headed to the other side,  stopping to take in the vast size and beauty of the mighty Columbia, flowing silently under dark and heavy clouds.

The view of the River was amazing as was the view of these wild horses above (officially called ‘Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies.’)

It was well worth the stop on both sides.

~ Susanne

18 Comments on “Columbia River and Ginkgo Petrified Forest

  1. First time I’ve seen pictures of the Columbia. It’s majestic. And those horses!

    • Thanks Pete! It was fun to finally see it. We’d been by there many times but this is the first time we stopped! We’ll go back again when the weather is better and walk more of the trails.

  2. No wonder they were petrified I was pretty scared myself … okay It was my humour I wasn’t scared. I was excited to see Columbia, I do not think I had before your post. I hope the wild Ponies don’t leap off like Wilderbeast. 🤐

    • Thanks for your comment! We’d been by there many times on our way to someplace else and finally stopped to see the petrified wood! We’ll go back again when the weather is better. And don’t worry about the ponies; they seem frozen to that spot whenever we go by!! 😉

  3. Your post reminded me that we used to sing “Roll On Columbia” in elementary school when we would have music about once a week. I’ve been to the petrified forest in Arizona but had no clue there was one in Washington!

    • I’d been to the one in Arizona years ago. But even though this one is only 2 hours away this is the first time we’d stopped; always going someplace else and passing it by. We’ll go back again now that we know how easy it is to find, and under better weather conditions! 🙂

    • Thank you! You would love it! There’s such a variety of landscape here! Mountains, forests, rivers, ocean, even desert! 🙂

  4. Wow lovely scenery and I would love to visit that part of the world the horses look magnificent.

    • Thank you. 🙂 We have a bit of everything in Washington! And I too love the horses running in the hills above the river!

  5. All those years and I never heard of this spot of petrified wood. Thanks for the photos.

  6. I’ll go one further than Pete and say I’d like to touch petrified trees! They *look* just like the real thing! Love the greys, too. That is one mighty river…

    • Thanks Ros. It’s funny that it took me so long to stop and see the petrified wood in my own backyard, though I have been to the national park in Arizona. It was interesting to see these beautiful gems lying around, evidence of a forest of that once thrived in what is now desert. We will definitely return when the visitors center is open and the weather is better, to walk the interpretive trails! ☺

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