This is the year of the endless winter in the North Okanogan Highlands. The snow fall topped 3 feet. We’re going into April with over two feet of snow and more expected. Every vehicle here in our neighborhood has been stuck in the snow or mud or broken down multiple times. Early March brought 18 inches of snow, and whiteout conditions.
Two of my favorite Washington State erratics are not even in Washington – but they were. They’re now down in Oregon, south of Portland, and how they got there… Well, there’s a story I’d like to tell.
Perhaps the most exotic and unlikely erratic in the world got started on its journey a long time ago from a place in the dark emptiness between the stars. It is not only an erratic, it is an iron-nickel meteorite, and it is big. It is the largest such traveler in North America and is a member of the top-ten largest meteorites in the world. We can’t know where or when it fell to Earth as there is no tell-tale crater near it today, so we’ll pick up it’s journey 13,000 years ago when Lake Missoula was formed in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. That lake is going to need an introduction for this tale to make sense.
This is the second installment of a series discussing how the ice age affected the North Okanogan and eastern Washington state. The first installment can be seen here.
Our first wandering boulder can be found alongside Havillah Road 6.1 miles northeast of Tonasket, according to Google Maps. This is a really big rock and it’s just sitting out in the middle of nothing right where it was dropped from its ice sheet. I’ve included GPS coordinates so you can fly over it with Google Earth.
And if you’re in the area and are hoping to visit the site then just follow the map from the town of Tonasket on Hwy 97. Please – at all times respect the private property of the families on whose land these and other natural interests live.
I don’t know of an official name for this big guy, but it is really a splendid thing to see. I need to consult with local experts to verify it is an erratic and to discover any history that may be known about it. There’s another just a short distance to the south across the roadway and I’ll be presenting that later. Here is me stepping over snakes and other imagined beasties as I approach our first erratic in the wild.
Update: Somehow this seems too easy, but the name for the adjacent spur road is Split Rock Road which leads me to conclude the rock’s name is, um…, Split Rock.