If Woe Betide

The far horizon of this photo overlooks the Columbia River. You can’t see it, as it’s a hundred or so feet below. But you can vaguely make out Lodgestick Bluff on the opposite side of the river.

I took this photo on a narrow spine between Dusty Lake Coulee and Ancient Lake Coulee. The canyon wall seen at the top of the photo is the north wall of Ancient Lake Coulee.

The first white explorers to this region did not notice this canyon system. That’s understandable. The floor of the canyon is about 450 feet above the Columbia River. Between the mouth of Ancient Lake Coulee and the river is the Babcock Bench – a slope slowly sliding to a three hundred foot high cliff which drops to the water.

From the vantage point of the white explorers on the river, these twin coulees were fully hidden from view. Until a proper survey of the area was completed (early 1900s), there’s no mention of them anywhere.


‘If Woe Betide’

Camera: Crown Graphic (1962)
Lens: 127mm f/4.7 Rodenstock Ysarex
Film: Kodak Royal Pan (x-03/1970); 100ISO
Process: HC-110; 1+100; 60min

Ancient Lake Coulee, Grant County, Washington


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