High above the Columbia River in many places lie many mysterious pits in the basalt talus slopes. The nature and purpose of these hand built pits has remained unknown. We do know that people and culture have thrived here for nearly 10,000 years. Abundant clean water, berries, edible plants, and the sacred salmon runs allowed native peoples to develop complex cultural and spiritual practices.
The pits are thought to have significance in the rite of passage from boyhood into manhood. A young man might have come to this place to spend time fasting and performing the hard labor of building his pit while waiting for his sacred spirit to present itself in a vision.
Other forms of spiritual practice or mediation might have taken place here as well, as the pits are generally located such that they command breathtakingly beautiful views of the river and sky.
The Columbia River People were obviously very connected to this place, and to the natural world around them. Unfortunately, theirs is a world that is long gone, a world trampled by progress and growth. We would be wise to take a step back and consider what the true cost of our progress really is.
|A pit overlooks the once mighty Columbia river from atop Wind Mountain, Washington.|
A truly special place.