If your are headed east on I-90 stop and see the Wild Horse Monument!
Have you ever looked up as you are headed east across Washington, as you climb your way out of the Columbia River Gorge, and seen what looks like
Perched high on a bluff over the Columbia River Gorge, just a few miles before the turnoff to the George Amphitheater is the often missed, Wild Horse Monument which is a tribute to the wild horses that once roamed across the plains of Washington State.
The monument is actually a series of life-size cutouts of wild horses made from 1″ thick steel. Entitled the Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies, it was created by David Govedare, symbolically re-creates the Great Spirit turning loose a herd of wild horses above the Columbia River’s Wanapum Lake. The whole monument actually stretches for 200′ across the top of the hill overlooking the river and the town of Vantage.
The Wild Horse Monument is only accessible from the eastbound lanes of I-90 and with a short hike. A short but robust scramble, the trail is only one mile round trip with a 150′ elevation gain, so bring your good shoes! The trip is definitely worth it, as the view from the top is majestic.
Once you are done checking out the horses themselves, and the myriad of graffiti on them, take a look out across the highway to the parking lot on the rim of the Columbia Gorge. There you will see a fantastic scenic overview location of the Columbia Gorge. The Quincy Columbia Gorge Overlook is an excellent stop when you are headed west towards Seattle.
The next time you get ready to head east across the Columbia River, plan on an extra hour, bring some hiking shoes and stop and see the Wild Horse Monument. It is a link to a wilder time before farms and development gobbled up the wide-open spaces that you really should stop and give thought to.