Thursday, July 24, 2008

the so-called Bridge of the Gods

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2 comments:

Alan C said...

Kevin,

The high-road-vs-low-road issue will soon resolve itself. About 7 miles beyond Cascade Locks, the Historic Columbia R. Hwy ends (runs into I-84), and from there on the interstate is the only alternative. They permit cyclists on the frontage roads, so it ought to be OK for walking.

Alan C said...

There's an interesting story about how the Bridge of the Gods got its name.

According to Native American tradition, at some time in the past there was a major earthquake/landslide in the area, which caused a mountain on the north side of the river to collapse into the river, damming it up and creating a large lake behind it. For a long time, it was possible to walk across the natural dam. Eventually the lower portions of the dam were eroded away, and the waters rushed through. This was taken as a sign of the anger of the deities about something-or-other; through various propitiary activities, though, said deities were sufficiently appeased that they stopped the flood before the top of the dam was washed away, creating a bridge. It, too, was eventually washed away.

When Lewis and Clark first came along this section of the river, they observed large numbers of tree stumps protruding from the water. Inquiring, they were told approximately the story related above, and the area became known as Bridge of the Gods. So when they built a highway bridge here in the 1920s, that's what they called it.

Recent research indicates that the original earthquake might have taken place around 1100-1200 CE, and that the bridge may have washed away sometime around 1700.

(All info from the Wikipedia; I know a lot of trivia, but not this much.)