For those of you just joining or wanting to refresh yourselves on the series to date, Parte the First 'tis here and Parte the Second 'tis there. When we left off, we'd just watched the Columbia River flood basalts hit the ocean, and things had got a bit steamy. Were this metaphor to be extended, Hug Point would have to be rated as XXX geology. Here, basalts and sediments got really intimate.
|Hug Point, viewed from Austin Point|
I can't do this place the justice it deserves. It's so rich geologically that an amateur like myself can merely stutter over some of its more outstanding features. But I've got a ton of pretty pictures - so many, in fact, we're going to have to split proceedings into a North Hug and a South Hug. So come feast your eyes and feed your soul.
Two things drew me to Hug Point: the cave and the waterfall. We'll begin with the cave, since it's right there to your right the instant you step off the stairs.
|The Completely Awesome Hug Point Cave|
|Sediment vs. Basalt - Fight!|
|Basalt and Sedimentary Goodness|
|Delicious Geologic Goodness|
|Nature Red in Tooth and Rock|
|Folded, Spindled and Mutilated|
|All Broken Up|
|Holy Conglomerate, Batman!|
|Tilted Sediments and Conglomerate and Breccia, oh my!|
|Rather Like a Baby Slot Canyon|
|Thar Be Hug Point!|
You'll also notice another cave in the distance. You will be tempted by it. I assure you that, should you have had your fill of spelunking for the day, other things are going to drive that cave right out of your head. For instance...
So, no slow and stately cooling here for the most part, and columns aren't well-defined like they are further east where the flows could really pile up and take their time cooling down, but here we see some columnar ambitions. And it's so black and shiny! Water seeps down the cliff face, making everything positively gleam.
If you stand still here, nose to rock, lovingly tracing out patterns of cracks and joints, you'll notice you're hearing a roar. This is not the surf.
|Fall Creek Falls|
|Serenity Among the Sediments|
|Steams Flowing Out to Sea|
|I Dub Thee Pecker Pinnacle|
The rocks up here form walls and ramparts - it's rather like scrambling around in a natural-born castle.
Before you head back down, don't forget to amuse yourself by gazing over the lip of the falls.
|Falling off the Edge of the World - Whee!|
It's about this time that you reluctantly wrest your eyes from the rocks and look up to see what the sun's up to. It's hard to explore geology in the dark, after all. And you see this great big blue thingy crashing into the rocks.
|Oshit, That's Right - There's an Ocean...|
You can see why, though, can't you? Told you this place was outstanding. They may have named it Hug Point because wagoneers had to "hug" the cliffs on their travels, but a geologist might have named it that, too. You want to hug it and squeeze it and pet it and love it and take it home with you.
Ye olde indispensable volumes of reference as the author was trying to make sense of it all:
Fires, Faults and Floods - one of the best roadside guides to the Columbia River Basin evah.
In Search of Ancient Oregon - simply the most beautiful book written about Oregon's natural history.
Hiking Oregon's Geology - chock full o' adventurous goodness sure to help you get your rocks on.
Northwest Exposures - tying the whole shebang together in one easy-to-follow narrative.
Cataclysms on the Columbia - the book that truly helped me comprehend the incomprehensible.
The Restless Northwest - short, sweet, and yet comprehensive guide to Northwest geological shenanigans.
Roadside Geology of Oregon and Roadside Geology of Washington - indispensable references and inspirations.
Glacial Lake Missoula and its Humongous Floods - not only an informative guide to the discovery and history of the Floods, but an apt title, too!