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Mystery of the Mounds

Finally found a site that my ‘driver’ (Mike Penney) had yet to visit! Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve (20 miles south of Olympia) is a National Natural Landmark filled with hundreds of unusual and mysterious ‘mounds’ that are covered year-round in prairie grass and native wildflowers. Nobody knows for sure what caused them but here are some ideas:

– Captain Charles Wilkes, an explorer in 1841 thought they might be burial grounds. He dug but found nothing.

-The Upper Chehalis Tribe claims that a tribal member named Thrush, refused to bathe or cleanse her face for fear something bad would happen to the Earth. After much harassment from her people, she gave in and washed her face. It rained so hard the world flooded. When the water receded, the prairie land below took on the shape of waves.

-Professor Walter Dalquest and biologist Victor Scheffer stated (in 1942) that pocket gophers created the mounds. 

-Others say they formed via shock waves from earthquakes, ancient floods, or runoff from the glaciers.

No matter what caused them it’s a peaceful spot to wander and ponder the mystery of the mounds.


Next a little drive through Rochester and Oakville and bite to eat at the Mill’s Diner.


Hidden in a cove of trees is the Mima Prairie Pioneer Cemetery – Forty-seven souls are buried here dated between 1871 – 1990. Deeded to Thurston County in 1869 by John (born 1800) and Polly  (born 1793) Laws. It is now maintained by Weyerhaeuser Corp.

The largest monument for John and Mary Laws says:
Left Illinois for Vancouver, 1852; later located at Olympia, WA; and then on the donation claim, where their remains now lie. Monument erected by their grand-son, Edgar Bryan in 1905.

Their combined ages – over fourscore years ended in peace and without any fears of the occult hereafter – for good or bad, although their career was sometimes sad they’re resting from toils, pains and strife, after a long and useful life.


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