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Trip Report Mini TR with photo links - Spring in Eastern Washington

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I thought I’d just post a very minimal trip report covering a day and a half I spent this week traveling to central and Eastern Washington. The main purpose of the drive was to take some pictures in the Palouse region in the southeastern part of the state.

Washington is the largest producer of wheat in the state, and the Palouse is the center of that crop. In the spring the new wheat on the Palouse’s rolling hills creates remarkable shades of green, coupled with the brown and gold of the fields not planted. With changing light, clouds, sun angles, and the age of the plants it makes for some stunning vistas.

On Monday April 8 I drove east on Interstate 90 from Seattle, over the still-snowy Cascades and into the warmer and sunnier central part of the state. Just at the Columbia River I stopped at a monument/sculpture collection commemorating the state’s wild horses, then I crossed the dry and sagebrush rangeland of central Washington and through the Palouse hills until I got to Steptoe Butte, a promontory in the middle of the Palouse fields (not far from the town of Colfax.)

Factoid and speaking of horses, Appaloosa horses take their breed’s name from the Palouse.

After taking some pictures in the (rather flat due to clouds) early evening light, I drove into Idaho and down to the town of Moscow (home of the University of Idaho) where I spent the night in a nondescript and rather dated Best Western motel, arriving in time for a take-out burger in front of the NCAA finals on the teevee.

The next morning I went back (this time via Pullman, Moscow’s “twin city” and home to Washington State University) to Steptoe Butte, this time with sunny and better photographing weather. That was followed by traversing more Palouse hills, then back into the sagebrush for a brief visit to Palouse Falls, a little-known state park, really in the middle of nowhere, where the Palouse river tumbles farther than the Niagara into a marvelous rocky canyon that winds (eventually) to the Snake and ultimately the Columbia Rivers.

Then it was back over the mountains and home. A lot of ground covered in around 30 hours, but really worth it. Hopefully the photos will convey a sense of the places.

Wild Horse monument and Columbia River

Palouse landscapes

Palouse Falls and canyon

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