WASHINGTON ROCKS- new geology guide book

Washington Rocks by Eugene Kiver, Chad Pritchard and Richard Orndorff

Published by Mountain Press Publishing. 130 pages. $18

Review by D. Tucker

WAshington Rocks!Here’s a fun new geology guide to the entire state of Washington, hot off the press. Washington Rocks! takes you to 57 sites and provides a 1-3 page description of the geology of each. The Introduction  is a brief overview of the geologic history of Washington State. In a way this book is a ‘geo-light’ version of  Geology Underfoot in Western Washington. You won’t get much ‘meat’ here but it is a fun glove box guide to keep handy when you are traveling; in a way it is an upgrade to way-out-of-date and frustratingly vague Roadside Geology of Washington. Some of the sites are described for the first time [that I know of], and would remain forever obscure if the authors hadn’t revealed them in this book; examples are Turtle Rock north of Wenatchee and Dishman Hills near Spokane. Other locales are much better known, such as Mima Mounds and Ape Cave; some are interpreted in much greater detail in GUWW. Nearly all the sites are on the roadside, can be seen from a road, or are an easy walk over trails. A few are longer hikes. I have one rather serious bone to pick. There are few to know directions to see some of the points of interest in the photos. For instance, on page 57 is a fine photo of an ice-rafted erratic ‘on the flanks of the Rattlesnake Hills’ but there is no indication of how to find such an erratic. Similarly, page 15 shows some fine rounded granite tors ‘at Gleason Mountain in Pend Oreille County’ but the whereabouts of this mountain is not shown on a map nor described in the text. I would love to know how to see the feeder dikes pictured on page 6 but alas, only somewhere ‘along WA 410’, and how to get to the intriguing-sounding Abercrombie Mountain described on page 18. You’ll need to search the web to find out how to do that, or how to find the Dishman Hills. Apparently the authors are expecting readers to be able to find features on their own, and in a book of this size there must be limitations. However, another page or two to be sure that directions to all sites shouldn’t be too much to expect. Also please note that while Washaway Beach north of Willapa Bay is included, there is no legal access and you will have to walk past dire warning signs to access the beach at this wonderful  site. I left this site out of Geology Underfoot in Western Washington for this very reason.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the review, Dave!

  2. Too true about Washaway beach! Better to go to the eastern shore of Willapa Bay. There are many shores with agates and things of interest. As for concretions and “fossil” snails, the Columbia is great for that but to get to the areas one must kayak. A motor would run too deep in the shallows.

    • Marilyn, where in the Columbia are you refering to for concretions and fossils? Do you live near Washaway? What is currrent access status? DAve

    • The area on the Columbia is to the east of the Astoria Megler bridge at the last spot on the Columbia before the road turns away toward Naselle. There is a boat launch there and we use it to kayak across the cove. There is also a Bald Eagle nest there so spotting them is common as are the otters of the area.

  3. Please resend the info about the Cinder Volcano class/walk. I believe it was taking place June 14th.

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