The benches of the Devils Hole

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bobcat
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The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by bobcat » May 7th, 2013, 5:20 pm

I think this is my fifth trip report from The Dalles area this spring - and also definitely the last. Some friends wanted to head out to Hood River for the day and I managed to tack on this short exploration of the benches in the Devils Hole, part of Washington’s Doug’s Beach State Park.

It was about 85 degrees when we arrived at the pullout area next to the railroad tracks. The trains run through here with some frequency and the whistle blasts can rattle your ear drums at 10 yards. We walked about 300 yards east from the parking area to the concrete culvert that marks the access point up the hillside (The only paths to follow are deer and old cattle trails). We ascended a small gully and then headed towards sheer basalt face, hiking up under it to a breach in the rimrock that offers a steep scramble up. From here, we headed west to reach the lower bench.
Train, Doug's Beach State Park.jpg
Sevenmile Hill and Doug's Beach from the Devils Hole.jpg
Narrow-leaved skullcap (Scutellaria angustifolia), Devils Hole.jpg
Western bench, Devils Hole.jpg
Bi-colored cluster lily (Triteleia grandiflora), Devils Hole.jpg
We strolled along this little plateau to get a view of the Ortley Pinnacles, my favorite geologic structure in the Gorge, which are lava layers tilted vertical by faulting. Unfortunately, they are on private land, so you cannot pay a close visit. We dropped down to visit a couple of lava pillars on the lower rim, and then returned to head east, negotiating a gully that concealed a herd a of deer, to reach a higher bench. We reached the last bench and dropped down another gully to return to the breach and descend to the road. West of the parking area along SR 14, you can pull off and get a view of the Pinnacles, which are better appreciated from the Oregon side of the river.
Lava columns, Devils Hole.jpg
View to Sevenmile Hill, Devils Hole.jpg
Clambering down to a gulch, Devils Hole.jpg
Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginianus var. melanocarpa), Devils Hole.jpg
Gully in Devils Hole.jpg
Looking to Rowena across the benches, Devils Hole.jpg
Looking to The Dalles, Devils Hole.jpg
Lava pinnacle, Devils Hole.jpg
Ortley Pinnacles, Devils Hole.jpg
The bloom is well past its prime here and, with the heat we’ve been getting, promises to be abbreviated everywhere. Poison oak is ubiquitous although it can, for the most part, be avoided.

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BrianEdwards
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by BrianEdwards » May 7th, 2013, 6:41 pm

Nice vibrant colors in your photos. The train picture was a nice surprise
Clackamas River Waterfall Project - 95 Documented, 18 to go.

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retired jerry
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by retired jerry » May 7th, 2013, 7:01 pm

Is that East of Maryhill State Park?

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bobcat
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by bobcat » May 8th, 2013, 6:53 am

@jerry: The Devils Hole is just east of Lyle and the Cherry Orchard Trailhead (so west of The Dalles). You need to park at Doug's Beach State Park. There is an entry on it in Curious Gorge, but I've known it for years as Three Benches (a good botanizing spot).

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LisaDHolmes
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by LisaDHolmes » May 11th, 2013, 12:26 pm

Very nice! It's good to be introduced to unfamiliar spots, especially those with so much geological interest. I enjoy learning about what makes the landscape look the way it does. We are lucky to live in an area with such diversity. :)
Lisa Holmes
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Splintercat
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by Splintercat » May 11th, 2013, 2:32 pm

Thank you, John! Excellent report, as always! One geo-question is on the origin of the pinnacles: I thought they were formed as an intrusive dike within the Ortley anticline (though that was the thinking 30+ years ago)..? Might have to dig into that a bit, as the geologic theories about the Gorge continue to evolve and improve.

The twin rocks are sort of a mini-version of the Three Gossips in Arches -- can you see the faces? They seem to be having an involved conversation... with you listening in! ;)

Tom :)

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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by jberry » April 15th, 2018, 10:15 am

Does anybody know the origin of the name "Devil's Hole" here, or where that feature is? I have a Garmin map that names a location with that name, but I don't see any hole at that location. A friend points out a large crack/chasm in the basalt on Schreiner land to the West of the WA parkland, but not where Garmin would put it.

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bobcat
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Re: The benches of the Devils Hole

Post by bobcat » April 18th, 2018, 3:34 pm

This is the Rowena Gap, where steep slopes went down to a much narrower river before the Bonneville Dam. There were narrows and rapids at either end of this part of the Gorge. I'm just guessing, but "devil's" was often applied to areas of jumbled and fantastic rock formations, and this case they are on the slopes of what was a much more enclosed part of the river in the past. I've scrambled a bit around those slopes and there isn't any big "hole" (at least on land).

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