Jared Kennedy | 08.25.2014

Wednesday's Word is Klickitat - klɪkɪtæt -- KLIH-kih-tat

k: 'k' in 'sky'  l: 'l' in 'lie'  ɪ: 'i' in 'lid'  k: 'k' in 'sky'  ɪ: 'i' in 'lid'  t: 't' in 'tie'  æ: 'a' in 'pad'  t:'t' in 'tie'

The Klickitat moniker is given to a prominent river and county in Washington State, borrowed from the Klickitat tribe that inhabited the area north of the Columbia River. The Klickitat name itself was bestowed on the tribe by the Chinook people and meant "beyond", indicating that the Klickitat migrated to the region. Reinforcing this is the fact that the Klickitat called themselves by another name that meant "prairie people."  

Lewis and Clark were greeted by the Klickitat on their expedition in 1805 and they estimated the tribe to number around 700 people. During the first half of the 1800s, when the fever epidemic decimated many of the tribes in the Willamette Valley, the Klickitat used the opportunity to cross the Columbia River and occupied areas of Oregon, reaching as far south as Jackson County in the early 1850s. Shortly following this, as the United States consolidated its ownership of western lands, the Klickitat War was fought in 1855, and in defeat the Klickitat people were resettled to the Yakima Indian Reservation.

Today, the Klickitat River area is a lowly populated part of Washington. The river was designated as Wild and Scenic, giving it the highest conservation protections for rivers. One of the best ways to explore the river is on the Klickitat River Trail, a trail that takes hikers on what was once a railroad line that connected the towns of Lyle and Goldendale. The 30-mile trail has multiple trailheads, two of the most popular being in Lyle at Harms Road. It passes through private land with livestock. Rattlesnakes, ticks and poison oak are also found in the area, all good reasons to keep your dog leashed if you are bringing one along. Also, for wildfire precautions, the trail is usually closed in sections from mid-June through October.


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