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The Great Ice Age Floods: Nature's Power and Beauty in Northwestern Landscapes

Program Number: 9695RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/14/2015 - 6/19/2015; 7/12/2015 - 7/17/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Spokane, Washington
Price starting at: $1,189.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Rugged scablands, rippling loess hills, high basalt plateaus, and plunging river canyons make up the Northwest’s dramatic landscapes. Only recently have scientists accepted what was once thought to be an outrageous tale of how they came to be. Follow the path of The Great Ice Age Floods across Washington and learn why the National Park Service is establishing a Geological Trail here. Touch the land yourself and step back to wonder at nature’s force.




Highlights

• Discover how the glacial dam that burst from Lake Missoula, located over what is now western Montana, scoured the Northwest as it plunged seaward.
• Follow the path of these Great Ice Age Floods across Washington to the 10 million year old basalt cliffs of Wallula Gap.
• Study J Harlen Bretz's 1923 floods theory and learn why he was banished from geological circles — only to be vindicated some 30 years later.



Activity Particulars

Walking one-half mile a day; one hike is one mile over uneven terrain. Optional longer hikes.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Spokane, 2 nights; coach to Moses Lake, 1 night; coach to Walla Walla, 1 night; coach to Spokane, 1 night; departure.



Coordinated by Road Scholar.




Spokane

This vibrant city hosts nature alongside symphonies and secluded paths alongside first-class museums. Once the gathering place for native peoples seeking the robust salmon runs of the Spokane River, Spokane today is a modern community nestled on the plains east of the Cascades, with riverfront parks and trails, colleges and community arts.



Accommodations
Comfortable motels and hotels.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Don Popejoy

Don Popejoy has always loved American history, especially that of the Pacific Northwest. He is currently involved with the Oregon/California Trail Association and his passions extend to the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. Don has represented the organizations as a trail guide, preservationist, board member and several other positions. Don teaches Pacific Northwest history, Lewis and Clark history, geology and global warming at Spokane Falls Community College and the Corbin Center.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Red Lion River Inn
  Spokane, WA 2 nights
   Inn at Moses Lake
  Moses Lake, WA 1 night
   Best Western Walla Walla Suites Inn
  Walla Walla, WA 1 night
   Red Lion River Inn
  Spokane, WA 1 night
 Red Lion River Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: The Red Lion River Inn is a quiet urban hideaway nestled along the beautiful north bank of the Spokane River. Just steps from Riverfront Park and the Centennial Trail, guests have easy access to Gonzaga University, the Convention Center, and the INB Performing Arts Center as well as Spokane’s best shopping, entertainment, restaurants and the downtown business district.
  Contact info: 700 N Division Street
Spokane, WA 99202 USA
phone: 509-326-5577
web: spokaneriverinn.redlion.com/
  Room amenities: Guestrooms feature plush pillowtop beds, free wireless Internet access, work desk and chair, alarm clock/radio, coffee maker, iron with ironing board, hairdryer, refrigerator, microwave, premium TV and eco-friendly bath amenities.
  Facility amenities: The Red Lion River Inn features complimentary wi-fi Internet, two seasonal outdoor pools, fitness center, horseshoes, volleyball, tennis and basketball courts, laundry facilities, restaurant, lounge, business center, and a complimentary airport shuttle.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel directly Call hotel directly for best available rate. Mention you are part of the Road Scholar group.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call hotel directly Call hotel directly for best available rate. Mention you are part of the Road Scholar group.
  Check out time: 12:00 PM

 Inn at Moses Lake
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Contact info: 1741 East Kittleson Road
Moses Lake, WA 98837 USA
phone: 509-766-7000
  Room amenities: Microwaves, Refrigerator and coffee makers Hair Dryer, Iron & Ironing Board Complimentary Seattle Times, Herald, and USA Today Complimentary Wi-Fi
  Facility amenities: Hotel does not have an elevator. Computer Center and Fax service plus Coin Op Washer and dryer facilities.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Best Western Walla Walla Suites Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: Conveniently located close to historic downtown Walla Walla, the Best Western Walla Walla Suites Inn offers friendly, hospitable guest service and comfortable accommodations. Historic downtown Walla Walla, named one of America's Great Main Streets by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, offers a variety of shops, galleries, historic homes and tasting rooms. Wine enthusiasts will be thrilled by the more than 90 wineries and over 1,000 acres of vineyards in wine country. If outdoor recreation is what you are looking for, the rivers, woods, mountains and canyons of the Walla Walla Valley will provide the landscape for any outdoor adventure.
  Contact info: 7 E Oak St
Walla Walla, WA 99362 USA
phone: 509-525-4700
web: www.bestwesternwashington.com/hotels/best-western-walla-walla-suites-inn
  Room amenities: Each of the 78 well appointed guest room features cable satellite television with HBO, free high-speed Internet access, free local calls under 30 minutes, wake-up calls, voice mail, AM / FM alarm clock, coffee / tea maker, hairdryer, iron, ironing board, microwave and refrigerator. Accessible rooms include: raised toilet with grab bars, bathtub seat, safety bar in shower, bathroom rails, wheelchair accessibility, closed-caption television, visual alarm and knock lights. One room has a roll-in shower.
  Facility amenities: Hotel amenities include fresh baked cookies served nightly, heated indoor pool, hot tub, whirlpool, exercise facility (with weight machines, treadmill, cross-trainer, and bicycle), coin operated laundry, 24-hour front desk, 24-hour Business Center (with computer, Internet, fax, and photocopy services), and free wireless Internet access available in public areas and all guest rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check in begins at 3:00 PM. Program registration is available from 4:00 - 5:00 PM. Dinner is at 6:00 PM, followed by orientation at 7:00 PM. You will be staying at Red Lion River Inn that night.
  End of Program:
8:00 AM after breakfast. Hotel check out by 12:00 PM. You will be staying at Red Lion River Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants are asked to complete a Room Preferences and Travel Information Form.
  Parking availability:
Parking is complimentary throughout the program.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Spokane, WA
  Nearest highway: I-90
  Nearest airport:  Spokane International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Spokane, WA
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Spokane- Red Lion River Inn

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Red Lion River Inn shuttle
phone: 509-326-5577

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Complimentary
Prices are subject to change.

   

Call the hotel to arrange for the shuttle after you have picked up your luggage from the baggage claim. Return arrangements can be made with the front desk. The hotel shuttle may also provide transportation to / from the bus and train stations. Call the hotel for pick-up.

 
Driving Directions
  Red Lion River Inn (Spokane, WA) from Seattle Travel on Interstate 90 East into Spokane Take exit 281, Division Street Follow Division Street north across the Spokane River (approximately 9 blocks) and stay in the right lane You will see the flashing hotel sign on the right as you cross the bridge Turn right at the light onto North River Drive The hotel is on the right
  Red Lion River Inn (Spokane, WA) from Spokane International Airport Follow Airport Road to Highway 2 Follow the signs for Interstate 90 East Continue on I-90E to exit 281, Division Street Follow Division Street north across the Spokane River (approximately 9 blocks) and stay in the right lane. You will see the flashing hotel sign on the right as you cross the bridge. Turn right at the light onto North River Drive The hotel is on the right
  Red Lion River Inn (Spokane, WA) from the North on Highway 2 (Newport Hwy) or Highway 395 Follow Division Street south to the downtown area Turn left at the light onto North River Drive The hotel is on the right
  Red Lion River Inn (Spokane, WA) from the east Travel on Interstate 90 West into Spokane Take exit 281, Newport Highway/Highway 395 The ramp will take you to Division Street heading north Follow Division Street north across the Spokane River (approximately 9 blocks) and stay in the right lane You will see the flashing hotel sign on the right as you cross the bridge Turn right at the light onto North River Drive The hotel is on the right
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome, Introductions and Orientation
(Sunday, July 12)
   
 Afternoon: Hotel check in begins at 3:00 PM.

Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road scholar Desk available from 4:00 - 5:00 PM to meet program staff and pick up your arrival packet with name tag, schedule, and other important information we will be reviewing during Orientation.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Orientation and Introductions: We will gather in our meeting room following dinner to introduce everyone and review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
   
Accommodations: Red Lion River Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Pot Holes, Coulees, Lava Flows Galore!
(Monday, July 13)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: We begin our exploration shortly after breakfast studying the channeled scablands, coulees and pot holes of the Spokane area. The unflattering term “scabland” sometimes is applied to rough or barren regions with little or no economic potential. J Harlen Bretz established the term “channeled scablands “ during his studies that led to his theory that these unusual landscapes had been created by Ice Age Floods. The scablands in this area have gouged channels which distinguishes the Columbia Basin from tracts of scablands found elsewhere. Scablands topography normally results from the effects of massive long-term erosion. This area is different in that there is evidence that other forces were involved. These floods gouged the scablands creating the coulees, channels and pot holes which add interest and unusual beauty to the landscape.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch en-route.
 Afternoon: On our way back to Spokane your instructor will help you identify within the landscape the remains of massive lava flows, potholes, pillow basalt, and spectacular coulees carved out by Ice Age rivers - truly wonderful terrain created 18,000 to 15,000 years ago by Glacial Lake Missoula.
 Dinner: At the hotel.
 Evening: Optional walking tour along the Spokane River following dinner
   
Accommodations: Red Lion River Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Grand Coulee Dam, Dry Falls and Ancient Ripples
(Tuesday, July 14)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Explore a part of the 'scablands' west of Spokane - giant raw scars that speak of a massive ripping away of the earth's surface - as we travel to the Grand Coulee Dam, through the Upper Grand Coulee, Steamboat Rock and Dry Falls. During the Floods this was a waterfall ten times the size of Niagara Falls, the largest waterfall ever in existence on earth. Now this stark 400' high, 3.5 mile wide dry cliff overlooks a desert oasis filled with lakes and abundant wildlife.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch in the falls area. Time to either explore the Visitor's Center, or meander on trails.
 Afternoon: We will continue to explore the Waterville Plateau and the 12 glacial moraines left behind by the Okanaogan Ice Lobe during the last ice age.
 Dinner: Dinner at a restaurant near our hotel
 Evening: Following dinner we'll transit back to the hotel to rest and relax for tomorrow's travels.
   
Accommodations: Inn at Moses Lake
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Other signs of the Great Floods, Basalt Cliffs, Hanford nuclear site and Historic Walla Walla
(Wednesday, July 15)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Visit West Bar and other sites formed by the massive flood. Learn about the giant ripple marks left by the flood and plainly visible on aerial photographs. They went unnoticed for many years simply because their immense size makes their pattern and symmetry almost indistinguishable from the ground. Vist Pothole reservoir whose "Potholes" were created by the flood waters and the subsequent addition of O'Sullivan Dam by the Columbia Basin Project which raised the water table high enough to allow these topographical depressions to become lakes.
 Lunch: Sack lunch at historic wayside
 Afternoon: Travel through the Quincy Basin where the flood waters carried huge boulders of basalt and granite from the bedrock along the flood's course and scattered them across the basin as the waters slowed. Fields are now filled with thousands of boulders, some the size of a small house.

Continue to the Hanford nuclear site which was a producer of plutonium from 1944 through 1991 as part of the Manhattan Project with as many as 9 reactors running in the late 50's and early 60's. From 1964 - 1971 eight reactors were slowly shutdown and prepared for decontamination and decommissioning. The remaining reactor was converted to produce electricity, as well as plutonium and continued to operate until 1991.

 Dinner: Explore historic Walla Walla and select a restaurant of your preference to dine on your own.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening at your leisure after our busy schedule. Walk through the town or sip a cup of coffee at a local restaurant or coffee shop.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Walla Walla Suites Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Wallula Gap, Native Cultures and Closing Words
(Thursday, July 16)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Travel to Twin Sisters at Wallula Gap. Twin Sisters are two pillars of basalt that jut from the cliffs along Wallula Gap overlooking the Columbia River. Geologists say the rock formation is the result of erosion from the great flood. A Cayuse legend states that the natural monument was formed when Coyote, an animal spirit, fell in love with three sisters, then became jealous of them and turned two into stone. The third was turned into a cave, says the legend. A trail here is short and provides some amazing views of the Wallula Gap on the Columbia River.

Wallula Gap restricted the outflow from the floods creating massive Lake Lewis which covered the entire Pasco Basin, most of the Quincy Basin, and Yakima Valley, much of the Ahtanum Valley, and the valley of the Walla Walla River and its main tributaries. Floodwaters also backed up the Snake River well beyond present-day Lewiston, Idaho. An estimated 3,000 square miles of land were under water.

 Lunch: We will dine at a local's favorite restaurant in Dayton, WA.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we will continue to Palouse Falls for a dramatic view of one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state of Washington. Palouse Falls drops from a height of 198 feet. After this amazing falls travel through Snake River/Palouse country, where you'll see the rich farmland that thrives from rich soils deposited by the Floods.
 Dinner: Closing Dinner at our hotel celebrates the amazing terrain we have traversed, the powerful forces of nature and the people of the Northwest who have adapted to this, including our own group of intrepid explorers!
 Evening: Share stories of your travels as you say good bye to your new found friends.
   
Accommodations: Red Lion River Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Goodbyes and Program End
(Friday, July 17)
   
 Breakfast: At hotel. Departures after breakfast.

This concludes our program.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods


Author: John Eliot Allen, Marjorie Burns, Scott Burns


Description: The formation of the Grand Coulee remained a mystery for many years, until J Harlen Bretz proved that the Columbia River basin was the site of huge floods 15,000 years ago that created the landscape we see today. This is the BEST book on the subject.



Geologic Road Trips in Grant County, Washington


Author: Amara & Neff


On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods


Author: Bjornstad


The Restless Northwest: A Geological Story


Author: Williams


Bretz's Flood: The Remarkable Story of a Rebel Geologist


Author: Soennichsen


Glaical Lake Missoula and its Humongous Floods


Author: Alt


Fire, Faults & Floods: A Road & Trail Guide Exploring the Origins of the Columbia River


Author: Mueller/Mueller


Roadside Geology of Washington


Author: Alt & Hyndman




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