Wishkah River

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The Wishkah River near Hoquiam, Washington.

The Wishkah River is a tributary of the Chehalis River, approximately 40 miles (64 km) long,[1] in the U.S. state of Washington. The river drains a remote rural area of approximately 102 square miles (260 km2)[2] in Grays Harbor County along the Washington coast north of Aberdeen. It flows south through Grays Harbor County and empties into the Chehalis at Aberdeen.

The name "Wishkah" is an adaptation of the Chehalis Indian word hwish-kahl, meaning "stinking water".[3][4]

In popular culture[edit]


The song "Something in the Way" on Nirvana's album Nevermind refers to the experiences of its lead singer Kurt Cobain living under a bridge on the river, during a period of homelessness after dropping out of high school and being kicked out of his mother's home. According to his biographer Charles R. Cross, however, this was largely a myth created by Cobain himself. One third of his cremated remains were scattered in the river after his death.[citation needed]

From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah is a live album by the band. It was released over two years after Cobain's death on October 1, 1996 and features live performances recorded from 1989 to 1994.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Wishkah River". The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  2. ^ "Chehalis River Basin Nonpoint Action Plan - Wishkah River". Chehalis River Council. Retrieved 2009-06-05.
  3. ^ Phillips, James W. (1971). Washington State Place Names. University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-95158-3.
  4. ^ "Unusual names, odd spellings found in Washington". The Spokesman-Review. Dec 24, 1977. pp. A12. Retrieved 20 May 2015.

Coordinates: 46°59′14.5″N 123°48′40″W / 46.987361°N 123.81111°W / 46.987361; -123.81111