Page:The Columbia River - Its History, Its Myths, Its Scenery Its Commerce.djvu/33

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7
The Land where the River Flows

streams between the Cascades and the Coast Mountains westward.

But while the age of flood was shaping the great valley systems, a fourth age—the age of ice—was working still other changes upon the plastic land. The mountains had been reared by upheaval and volcanic outflow to a stupendous height. Then they became glaciated. The whole Northern Hemisphere, in fact, took on the character of the present Greenland. Enormous glaciers descended the flanks of the mountains, gouging and ploughing out the abysmal cañons which now awe the beholder, and scooping out the deeps where Chelan, Cœur d'Alene, Pend Oreille, Kaniksu, and other great lakes delight the vision of the present day.

Such were the forces that wrought the physical features of the land where the River flows. We do not mean to convey the impression that there was a single age of each, and that they followed each other in regular chronological order. As a matter of fact there were several eras of each, interlocked with each other: upheaval, fire, flood, and frost. But as the resultant of all, the Columbia Basin assumed its present form. The great forces which have thus fashioned this land manifested themselves on a scale of vast energy. Evidences of upheaval, fire, flood, and glacier are exhibited on every side, and these evidences constitute a testimony of geological history of the most interesting nature. Long before this record of the rocks had found a white reader, the native red man had read the open pages, and interpreted them in the light of his ardent fancy.

The Indian conception of the flood, involving also