Looking for Horse Thieves

December 24th, 2013 | by | 2 Comments
Published in Destinations, Geology, Landscapes, Nature Photography, Pacific Northwest, Washington
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s easy to imagine a gang of horse thieves hiding out at Horsethief Butte—the high basalt walls form a natural fortress and there are a number of narrow entrances into the interior of the butte that would make it easy to defend from a posse of lawmen.

Horsethief Butte

Horsethief Butte in the warm morning sun.

I visited this Washington state park in early spring this year during another road trip and was interested in seeing it at a different time of year. In the spring, the wildflowers were spectacular. In winter, it was quieter and all that remained of the spring and summer bloom were this year’s seeds and berries.

Horsethief Butte

The far side of Horsethief Butte – in winter, the rock and grass become the main attraction.

Winter is a good time to visit since you’re likely to have the place to yourself. A well maintained trail takes you from the parking area out around the front of the butte. Signs of extensive trail braiding are evident as visitors have created several different routes into the centre of the butte and up to a variety of view points—try to keep the most heavily trodden paths and resist the temptation to create a shortcut. It was actually challenging to create photographs that had minimal signs of human impact.

Yellow Lichen

Bright yellow lichen creates a splash of colour in the browns and blacks of winter landscape.

Both early morning and late afternoon are excellent times to photograph Horsethief Butte as the light is perfect. In the morning, the front side of the rock facing the Columbia River is well lit and by late afternoon the road facing side of the butte is warmed by the setting sun.

Winter Berries

Winter berries amongst the tumbled basalt at Horsethief Butte.

I didn’t run into any horse thieves during my visit, but I could easily imagine them hunkered over a small fire in the central opening in middle of the rock walls. It sure would have been fun to ask them to pose for a few photographs!


Responses

  1. Hans Boerger says:

    December 27th, 2013 at 1:01 pm (#)

    Your article brought back many fond memories of exploring the Columbia River valley. I love the rough, lichen-covered rock that your photos capture so well. Usually do a spring trip to view the hillsides covered with golden balsam root and sky-blue lupines. Love listening to the swifts as they skim around the tops of the cliffs. We have not been at Horsethief SP as we stay at Maryhill SP a few miles further upstream. It is wonderful to have a regions with such diverse landscapes so close to home. Too bad the scenery is being severely impacted by the 100’s of huge wind turbines lining both sides of the valley.
    Hans from “Boerger West Coast Nature”

  2. IslandNature says:

    January 2nd, 2014 at 8:03 pm (#)

    Thanks Hans – it is a beautiful spot on the Columbia River. At this time of year there’s not a lot of plant life aside from last year’s seed heads and berries. I’m hoping to return in the spring when things are popping a bit more!

Record a Comment

by

Related Posts

Follow Island Nature

Subscribe to Island Nature via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 127 other subscribers

Island Nature on Tumblr

  • photo from Tumblr

    243/365
    Wickaninnish Beach

    A bit of a break in the weather at Wickaninnish Beach on Sunday - spent the day watching the waves from the front deck of the Kwisitis Centre in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve​. At high tide, the waves were coming up to the driftwood at the top of the tide line, water was murky with sediment and broken diatoms. Surf kayakers were having a blast!

    Fuji X-T1, VSCO Kodak Portra 160

    09/02/15

  • photo from Tumblr

    242/365
    Wyndansea

    With the weather systems moving through Vancouver Island this week the chances of dramatic storm conditions provide short windows of opportunity for photography. On Saturday night I checked out the failed Wyndansea real estate development in Uculelet - the coastline is absolutely spectacular and the waves were intense with the storm conditions. Obvious why the developers chose this location, it is absolutely stunning.

    Fuji X-T1, converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro 2

    09/02/15

  • photo from Tumblr

    241/365
    Towards the Storm

    There seemed to be pockets of calm in today’s storm and late this afternoon after work I found one down at Florencia Bay. I liked the way that the clouds were shaping up over the bay and the size of the waves - a group of four surfers tried to tackle the water but it looked too rough for them and they came back in quickly. I included them with their boards in some of my first images but wasn’t quite happy with what I was getting. It was when they ran back to the water without their boards that I got the image that I was looking for.

    Fuji X-T1, converted to black and white with Silver Efex Pro 2

    08/30/15

Photos of the Day from Island Nature’s Flickr Group

Member of

  • Wildlife Photography Blogs

Disclosure

Island Nature is a member of the Canadian Amazon Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to books on amazon.ca. A small percentage of each sale helps support this web site and you pay no additional fees for the book!

Copyright

Creative Commons License

Images and writing by Dave Ingram are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Island Nature copyright.