Monday, January 19, 2009

Sibling Rivalry - Mount Adams vs. Mount Hood

The Klickitat tribe of Washington and Oregon has a fantastic legend about an ancient dispute between two brothers that we now know as the Cascade volcanoes, Mount Adams and Mount Hood.

Long ago, Tyhee Saghalie, the chief of all the gods traveled down the Columbia river with his two sons in search of a place to settle. The sons, Pahto and Wy'east, had a difficult relationship and so when they finally came to a beautiful area where they wanted to live, the sons quarrelled. Each of them wanted the land for himself.

Mount Adams

To settle this dispute, their father shot two arrows from his bow. He shot the first one to the north and the second to the south and then told the boys that they would have to live in the place where each of the arrows landed. Pahto followed the arrow to the north and settled. Wy'east followed the arrow to the south and did the same.

Saghalie wanted his family to be content, so he built a bridge between the north and the south. This bridge became known as the Bridge of the Gods. And for many years the family used the bridge to meet.

But there was a problem...

Both of the sons fell in love with a beautiful young woman named Loowit. And this young woman was indecisive. She could not choose between the two chiefs.

So Pahto and Wy'east went to war with one another. They threw fire at each other and destroyed the Bridge of the Gods. When the bridge fell the earth was devestated. Villages and forests were destroyed and indeed, the collapse of the bridge created a massive rift between the north and the south which we now know as the Columbia River Gorge.

Mount Hood

The devastation from this war was so great that Saghalie was offended by his sons and their violence. So for punishment he transformed all three of the lovers into great mountains. Wy'east, with his head lifted in pride, became Mount Hood. Pahto, with his head bent in shame, became Mount Adams. And the maiden Loowit, became Mount Saint Helens.

Mount Saint Helens

In recent decades, it seems that the biggest hothead of the three was Loowit. Pahto and Wy'east should have treated her better so that she didn't blow her top!

--Jason D. Martin


Anonymous said...

Great Indian lore! Very nicely told-Matt

Unknown said...

Hello! I love the way you told this old tale; very well presented and with photos. My husband and I have an alpaca farm and store at the base of Mt. Adams. Many travelers stop by to see the alpacas, tour the farm and shop in our store. Although we're not "profitable" we love to share what we have. Your story would be a nice addition. Is it possible to get permission to use your story and photos? Thank you. Kudos!

Jason Martin said...


You're welcome to share the story and the photos!