The Klickitat Stump

“Ralph would like to see this stump” I thought to myself.

Ralph Anderson and petrified stump

I was looking at Google Earth and spotted a photo of a petrified stump near Klickitat, Washington. Someone who used the pseudonym “Curious Gorge” had posted the photo… I knew Ralph would like to see this stump.

I posted a note on my computer monitor to remind myself the next time Ralph stopped by to visit I would tell him about the petrified stump and we would make plans for a field trip.

Ralph Anderson, the big tree guy, a friend from high school, a carpenter most of his working life, now spends his retirement in search of big trees… champion trees. He measures those trees and submits the information to nominate the tree for championship status. He has traveled the world to look at trees.

Just as I thought, Ralph wanted to see the stump, so one pleasant day early this spring we made a field trip to Klickitat to see if we could find the tree stump. If the photo was posted at the exact location of the stump we had a pretty good idea where to find it. We would travel to those coordinates and start our search.

We drove about a mile up river from Klickitat and found a small roadside park, a good spot to stop and reconnoiter.  It was the location of an artesian mineral spring that was used as a source of carbon-dioxide gas to make dry ice.

While we were discussing our next move, Ralph decided to talk to our neighbor in the park and see if he knew anything about the stump. I could see an animated discussion going on… hand waving and finger pointing… so I decided to join the conversation.

The neighbor turned out to be “Curious Gorge” author Scott Cook.

Talk about serendipity… luck of the Irish… divine intervention… Ralph found the guy that took the photograph that launched our field trip… the guy who could give us exact directions to the stump… the guy who just happened to have a few copies of his book, “Curious Gorge”. We each bought an autographed copy.

Camera in hand we headed for the big stump… Eureka!

Photo and story by Larry Rea

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