The winter here so far has been unusually cold, consistently below freezing. The Columbia Gorge is normally quite temperate with only occasional snow or ice.
The extra cold temperatures have brought out an interesting feature of the basalt rock that borders many of the roads in the area.
The rock is constantly seeping water.
This phenomena is mostly unnoticeable in other kinds of weather. If it is raining the rock is wet anyway. If it is hot summer, the water coming out of the rock is quickly evaporated. There are many mini waterfalls to be seen but the impression is that they are formed by streams of rain run-off and snow melt and many of them are that. In spring the waterfalls flow in abundance.
But what this cold weather has revealed is that this water is not run-off but is coming directly out of the rock. Of course, if the water source was traced back to a source, it would be rain and snow run off but the layers of rock above the basalt layers do not have water or ice on them. This water has been in the ground and is now coming out of the rocks.
Isn't our natural world endlessly fascinating?