Leading directly northward, the tour runs through hilly wheat lands, marked here and there by patches of scrub pine, sagebrush, and scablands, until it winds down a steep grade and across the Spokane River at a point about two miles east of its confluence with the Columbia. North of the crossing, the route continues upward through rugged hills to practically treeless benchlands. Along the east bank of the Columbia is a broken fringe of peach and apple orchards; the arable benches are largely planted to wheat, and the steeper slopes are given over to grazing. Some lumbering is still being carried on in the pine- and tamarack-covered foothills. Scattered throughout the region were small mines as well as abandoned mines that were worked in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s, when on nearly every lonely creek some miner patiently washed the gravelly sands for gold. Today, most of the mining is in hardrock, although some small-scale placer operations are being carried on.
Cutting across US 395, SR 22 continues northeast along the east bank of the Columbia, which here cuts a tortuous channel through granite and other hard rocks to Northport and the Canadian Border. Ages ago volcanic eruptions and glacial action left their marks deep upon this region, which includes the northern limit of the lava flows and the southern limit of the glaciers. Some of the most thrilling pages of Northwestern history were written about this area; and again history was made in the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam (see Tour 1B) and the creation of one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, Lake Roosevelt. As a result, a mass migration took place, for the sites of ten towns, the homes of some 3,000 persons, were entirely flooded by the rising waters.
In 1934 surveyors began their work in the reservoir area above Coulee Dam, running lines along the Columbia and tributary canyons to determine the water level of the huge artificial lake. When the work of surveying was completed, the immensity and intricacy of the problems ahead became clear. Almost 100,000 acres of land had to be acquired by the Government and made ready for a lake bed. More than 5,000 buildings were to be demolished or moved. Ten towns with post offices—Keller, Lincoln, Peach, Gerome, Inchelium, Figgord, Daisy, Kettle Falls, Boyds, and Marcus—were doomed. Railroad lines, factories, and nearly 7,000 town lots had to be bought. More than 200 miles of highway, 26 miles of Great Northern trackage and roadbed, and 14 new bridges had to be built. It cost the government approximately $10,000,000 to acquire all property in the area and another $10,000,000 for clearing and reconstruction work. But where old landmarks were destroyed, it was hoped that gardens and orchards, beautiful homes, and new cities would rise in the reclaimed areas.