All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go, but we’re not leaving on a jet plane. Picasso will carry us over Snoqualmie Pass tomorrow to Wanapum State Park along the Columbia River. This is one of our favorite spots despite the Columbia’s unpredictable winds that howl south from the Canadian Rockies.
What is there to see and do around there? The Ancient Lakes are a series of lakes formed when the Columbia River rerouted itself millenia ago. You hike through a desert, come to a stream and waterfall, and then emerge on a lakeshore. Birds and flowers love the idea of water in the desert. The Yakama Indian Reservation has an old mission, a museum, and beautiful views of Mt. Adams. There are a few wineries in the area that we may be tempted to visit.
Wanapum State Park is also part of Petrified Forest State Park, a little known buried petrified forest in the bluffs above the river. There are trails to hike there as well. The Potholes Lakes are not too far away. These are glacially caused lakes (ponds in some instances) in a rolling desert scrub environment that is quite beautiful. Again, hiking trails, photo ops, and painting ops abound. Stargazing at night is fantastic.
Of course we love to simply set up our easels at the campsite and look across the Columbia at the bluffs on the eastern shore. When I was a freshman in high school in Seattle we traveled to the beaches below those bluffs to sift sand, rock, and dirt for artifacts of Indian life. The next year or so the dam was completed and the entire site is now under water. Some petroglyphs were saved for a museum, but most of the archaeological remains are no longer accessible.
Anyway, we will post when we can. There is no wifi in the area. The closest I can find are a McDonald’s and a Starbuck’s in Ellensburg. How’s that for roughing it?