Scenic America Award in Travel Photography Goes to Judith Walnoha
September 22, 2012
THE PRIZE WINNING SCENIC AMERICA AWARD IN THE VENTURE GALLERIES TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST GOES TO JUDITH WALNOHA.
Hers was not the easiest photograph to get.
Judith Walnoha had traveled to Beacon Rock State Park in Washington, and she hiked to the summit of an 848-foot basalt column that once formed the core of an ancient volcano.
The trail was daunting as it made its way along sheer rock walls.
But it was not that difficult to hike.
It took Judith through the trees, along the Southern face of the rock, and to a peak overlooking the Columbia River.
It’s a view that always changing.
First by light.
Then by shadows.
When Lewis and Clark led their expedition into the territory, they called it Beaten Rock. The name was changed to Castle Rock. And, over the years, it became better known as Beacon Rock.
Some claim that it is one of the four largest freestanding monoliths in the world – along with the Rock of Gibraltar, Stone Mountain, and Mount Augustus.
Back in 1915, a man named Biddle purchased the rock for a dollar and spent the next three years of his life, building a switchback hiking trail, handrails, and bridges to establish a three-quarter mile trail to the summit.
The United States Corps of Engineers, in later years, advanced plans to destroy the great basalt rock and use the broken material to construct a jetty at the mouth of the Columbia River.
The Biddle family said no.
Instead, the family tried to talk the state of Washington into creating a State Park around the magnificent spectacle of Beacon Rock.
Washington wasn’t interested.
The state of Oregon said it would be glad to take the rock and build a park.
And Washington suddenly had its interest fired, ultimately establishing a 4,482 park within the forested uplands, which included Hardy Falls and Rodney Falls.
From the crest of Beacon Rock, Judith Walnoha was able to capture the majesty of the mountains as they climbed into the clouds while the Columbia River cut its way warily through the gorge.
It was a portrait of scenic America at its best.
THE PRIZE WINNING LANDSCAPE AWARD IN THE VENTURE GALLERIES TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST WILL BE ANNOUNCED SUNDAY.