The Blues

A new book by Robert C. Carson tells the geological story of our own Blue Mountains.

To say Robert J. Carson loves the Blue Mountains would be an understatement. His newest book “The Blues: Natural history of the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington” gives a comprehensive look at the geology of the mountain range that dominates the viewshed in our corner of the Northwest.

Carson, a geologist and Whitman College professor emeritus, takes readers through the history of our beloved Blues with a detailed discussion of how and when the Blue Mountains, stretching from Clarno, Oregon, to Clarkston, Washington, were formed and what makes them different from other mountain ranges.

In order to illustrate his scientific explanations of the structure of the mountains and how that influences everything from the soils to the watersheds to the animals and plants that live there, Carson invited more than a dozen photographers to provide stunning visuals. Poetry works and excerpts from other writings, including diaries and scholarly works, provide additional context.

Even lifelong residents of the range’s vast sweep will discover plenty of reasons to venture into the Blues to discover new corners they didn’t know existed in their own backyard. And adventuresome visitors will have another reason to visit Eastern Oregon and southeast Washington state for ample hiking and outdoors opportunities.

And while “The Blues” is chock full of hard science, it’s also a beautiful coffee table book that will have readers opening it again and again.

“The Blues” is Carson’s fourth book published in collaboration with Keokee Books. His other works include “Many Waters”; “Where the Great River Bends: A Natural and Human History of the Columbia at Wallula”; “East of Yellowstone: Geology of Clarks Fork Valley and the nearby Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains”; and “Hiking Guide to Washington Geology.”

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