In the Wake of the Storm: A Winter Journey into the Coulees of the Scablands

A Chronicle of a Father & Daughter’s Changing Relationship as they travel deep into Mose’s & Frenchman’s Coulees in the Channeled Scablands of Cascadia’s Washington Desert searching for connection as much as for adventure


*This is work in progress with apologies for the delay. Go ahead & enjoy anyway! The rest shall come.

See! My daughter does love me, LOL!

Moses Coulee expanse from the old, two-lane highway, Monday 9 February 2015.










Morgan Bass, a little over a month before turning 21, face to face with The iPhone in the middle of the Scablands, Monday 9 February 2015.

Dutch Henry Falls spouts into McCarteney Creek below in the distance.

Dutch Henry Draw is a narrow slot canyon gashed thru jagged volcanic rock. It draws water from across the eastern side of the Waterville Plateau to gush out during high water into Moses Coulee to flow into McCarteney Creek which flows south out of Jameson Lake. These waters flow eventually into Rattlesnake Creek, then into Douglas Creek, and then into the Columbia River and on into the Pacific Ocean. The Falls of the Draw roars today in the wake of heavy rains storming in from the West.




The road into Upper Moses Coulee. Dutch Henry Falls on the distant Left. Jameson Lake awaits far around the bend. 

Morgan in our “land roving space ship.” February 2015.






Riding off into that high, lonesome feelin’.


Mid-Winter in Moses Coulee with ice across Jameson Lake.



Peace & Solitude … and hidden packs of coyotes.


Flight Mirrors the Eye of God.


Venturing off the beaten path down overgrown roads into the unknown.
























Rolling into the night looking for a quiet place to sleep. Foto by Morgan Bass.


Home on the Range…till two bands of coyotes start yowling & howling at each other with us in the middle. Foto by Morgan Bass.







































Dad scampers back up across the rocks like a crazy man who thinks he’s part billy goat, LOL. Foto by Morgan Bass.


Ol’ Willy Goat celebrates! Just being alive & getting outside makes all the hard times worth it! Foto by Morgan Bass.


William Dudley Bass. Foto by his daughter, Morgan Hannah Hughes Bass.

Classic William. Dad in his element. Foto by Morgan Bass.



























Morgan Bass at 20 plus, Moses Coulee, Tuesday 10 February 2015. Foto by her Dad.




















Coulee Country opens wide into the fog as gigantic electrical pylons rise out of the mist like alien robot invaders from an old 1950s sic-fy movie. We’re mindful, unfortunately, of people who have been arrested as suspected terrorists for simply taking pictures of these giant transmission towers. Foto by William Bass.

Down into Lower Moses Coulee.


Foto by Morgan Bass.

Foto by Morgan Bass.

We wormed our way southwards towards I-90, the freeway connecting Seattle to Spokane, heading towards one of our favorite old stomping grounds, Frenchman’s Coulee. Many refer to the greater area simply as Vantage from the almost-ghost town on the other side of the river. This is where I-90 crosses the Columbia River Gorge upstream of Wanapum Dam, a 185 foot tall hydroelectric dam that opened in 1963 a few months before JFK was shot dead half a nation away in Dallas. Frenchman’s Coulee is rich in its own stark, minimalist way, as is much of these barren Scabland regions. They feel timeless, yet are prone to abrupt, cataclysmic shifts such as the Great Ice Age Floods and the even larger basalt lava floods before those. Those floods, known as the Columbia River Basalt Group Basalt Lava Floods, are the largest known such floods discovered on our planet. The immense Ice Age Floods later carved massive channels thru these hardened basalt plateaus to created the deserts known as the Channeled Scablands.


Foto by Morgan Bass. Tuesday 10 February 2015.

Foto by Morgan Bass.

Rock climbing at the Feathers, Frenchman’s Coulee one Tuesday the 10th of February 2015.


The Columbia River as she kinks thru Central Washington on her way into the Pacific Ocean.

Ghosts of old machines haunt our relentless quest for more & more energy…


Frenchman Falls plummets down at the head of Frenchman’s Coulee. Foto by William Bass, 10 Feb 2015.

Frenchman Falls. Foto by Morgan Bass.

Frenchman Falls up close. This falls becomes a ice climb after it freezes during the bitter cold of the desert winter. Foto by William Bass.

  • Thank you for visiting this work in progress.


William Dudley Bass
Tuesday 19 September 2017
SeaTac/Seattle, Washington


More Resources:

“Columbia River Basalt Group Stretches from Oregon to Idaho,”USGS Volcano Harzards Program/Cascades Volcano Observatory.

“Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail: Tour Stop 8 – Moses Coulee,” Huge Floods

“Moses Coulee Preserve, Central Washington,” Washington Trails Association

“Moses Coulee Rock & Ice Climbing,” The Mountain Project.

“Washington: Moses Coulee & Beezley Hills,” The Nature Conservancy.



Copyright © 2017 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.





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