Our Daily Sykes #42 – Swallow Rock, Clarkston on the Snake River

The surreal shape of Swallow Rock, looking north over the Snake River in the last miles before it joins the Clearwater River and takes a sharp turn to the west for its last mostly slackwater (there are three dams) progress onward to join the Columbia River. The big "C" written with white rocks on the hill beyond Swallow Rock is partnered with an outline of a "bantum" - the mascot of the Clarkston High School teams. (Click to Enlarge) It was the clue - for me - for figuring out the location for this scene. I then learned the name of Swallow Rock from the Lewiston Public Library which is on the right or east or Idaho side of Snake River.
Swallow Rock again, looking north again over the curve in the Snake River. The hill beyond the rock is also famous for the highway that descended to Lewiston from the Palouse through what for the car sick - like my Aunt Annie - was a dizzying sequence of hairpin curves. (I think some have been eliminated with a brave new and more direct route.) Dear old Aunt Annie Crabby was my first connection with a victim of phobias, some of which I later learned to share with her.
Horace Sykes was surely engaged with Swallow Rock and this section of outflow from the Snake River's Hells Canyon shows the by now familiar shape of the Rock in a valley haze.
I am reminded now of Jean Sherrard's description of this landscape shared over his mobile phone when he was gathering "nows" for our book "Washington Then and Now." A few miles short of Clarkston and driving east along the Snake he described it as "wonderful - beautiful." Here's one more "capture" of Swallow Rock by Horace Sykes from sometime in the first years following the Second World War. The rock's eastern face is hidden from the sunset and we have electronically "pushed" some light on it. Note how a slice of the setting sun hits the tops of a small section of trees standing beside the river and below the rock.

2 thoughts on “Our Daily Sykes #42 – Swallow Rock, Clarkston on the Snake River”

  1. The last picture of Swallows Rock looks to be highly altered. There are no power poles below, and we rarely have snow that stays longer than a few days during the winter. I look out my front window at the back side of the rock every day, as well as drive on the hiway below in to town on a daily basis.

    1. Hi Tanya – we’d suggest that during your drives, you attempt to repeat the photos of Horace Sykes and send us your results. We’d love to do a Now and Then comparison.
      Jean and Paul

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