Exploring the Okanogan


Locals fall into winter preparation ritual

Every year there are certain things that householders do as fall develops. Given the tendency of our climate to do things suddenly, sometimes it is hard to see a seasonal change appear.

Tease photo

Cherish interactions with area’s wildlife

Story reveals a friendship between people and deer

There has been some mention of the greatest gift man can give. It has come up in connection with animals, too.

Erosion changes the landscape

What was highest was cut down; the lowest was raised

Somewhere in one of our old hymnals is the line: “The valleys shall be exalted, the lofty hills made low …”

Slides can vary from fun to terrifying

Word has many different meanings

The English language contains words that have multiple uses, and “slide” is one of them. Just now, one of those meanings is in the headlines, but let’s look at a number of them, beginning with the more innocent ones.

Frequency of recent storms is unusual

In our storms, rain follows lightning

When George Stewart wrote his book “Storm,” published in 1941, he named the storm Maria; the author stipulated that it should be with a long I (Mar-aye-uh).

Cats do more than control rodent levels

Exploring the Okanogan with Elizabeth Widel

Let us consider cats, specifically house cats. In an effort to be official about it, I dug out my “Encyclopedia Americana” and looked them up. There followed columns of information, more than I ever wanted to know.

Tease photo

Advances in technology speeding up

Exploring the Okanogan Elizabeth Widel

Society has gone from typewriters to tiny computers

Nature doesn’t always give a warning

Concrete cellar protects family from twisters

My grandfather built the first frame house on the Nebraska prairie, and his daughter and son-in-law farmed in the same area.

‘Storm’ captures essence of weather

George Stewart book addresses impact on people

I can’t remember when I first heard of and read George Stewart’s book, “Storm.”

Landscape reveals clues of area’s past

Continental lands keep shifting even in the present day

I remember being impressed at the idea of our continent being slowly built by bits and pieces of continents being added to it.

Tease photo

Science writer answers rock mysteries

Williams tracked down statistics of historic floods

Two weeks ago I raised the question of the argument over the source of water for creating the landforms in the channeled scablands in southeastern Washington.

Tease photo

North Cross ranks among favorite spots

Liberty Bell stands as a signature view of the highway

I don’t know that I could name my favorite place in the county. There are so many lovely ones! But among them surely would have to be the North Cascades Highway, locally known as the North Cross.

Aerial photographs verify historic floods

Big water carved out much of the state’s landscape

When J. Harlan Bretz claimed that the channel scablands were formed by flood waters, he was not believed. Where, they asked, will you get that in a desert?

Tease photo

Geologist ‘listened to rocks’ to find truth

Catastrophic floods altered landscape

It was a scientific brouhaha that lasted for decades and saw the solution of a geologic problem by aviation and, finally, Landsat photography.

Powell’s story fascinates, even today

His courage opened up a new chapter in history

John Wesley Powell, as any good Methodist might guess, was born to a Methodist pastor, in 1834. His father may have planned teaching or the ministry for him, but from the outset his interests were strongly scientific.

Latest blog posts