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Mima Mounds

28 January 2023 5.7 km / 3.5 mi (map)

  • Added to Eric Scouten :: Travel on 5 February 2023
  • Washington 46

A short drive south of Olympia, Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve presents a most unusual landscape. Hundreds of small mounds of dirt, some as tall as a person make an oddly undulating grassland. Scientists have studied this landscape for nearly two centuries and have yet to agree on a convincing theory for how or why they were formed.

Rather than speculate on this myself, I’ll share the story as told by the Upper Chehalis Tribe, the First Peoples of the area:

Thrush was a disgrace to the tribe: the people had noticed, for many years, that she would not wash her face or bathe; she would not go near the water … “My friends,” Thrush would say, “if I should wash my face, something might happen to this earth.” One day at last she consented to wash her face. Clouds started to form immediately. It rained and rained. The whole world was flooded. There was nothing but prairie land beneath the water. At last the water fell (near Mima Prairie). The earth still remains in the shape of waves.

Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve, southwest of Olympia, Washington · 5.7 km / 3.5 mi
(Mouse over or tap on the markers to see the photos there.)

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