We just returned from a week camping along the Columbia River. Our 29th wedding anniversary was so auspicious that a solar eclipse occurred on the very day! We stayed at one of our favorite campgrounds – Wanapum Campground at Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. Although fires threatened the air quality before we left, we only had smoky air one day. The daytime temps ranged from 85-95.
Our first morning was the eclipse. I arose early for a sunrise shot.
We were in a path of about 95-98% totality. By the time I figured out the appropriate camera settings it was on the wane.
Then we explored the campground. It is a beautiful gorge that was filled by the building of Wanapum Dam in 1963. I first visited the area in 1962 while living with my aunt and uncle. We drove over to assist in the dig to preserve artifacts from an ancient native site that was soon to be buried beneath the waters of Wanapum Lake. It is a beautiful campground with golden hills on the west side of the river and steep basalt bluffs on the east. Just downstream is a narrows, above which they built the dam.
We were unable to get a reservation at Cave B Winery for our anniversary (too many eclipse watchers) so our celebration dinner was the next day. We arrived early to walk the vineyards and treat ourselves to a wine tasting before dinner.
Another favorite place in the area is Frenchman Coulee. This is a series of small gorges gouged out of the basalt by thundering Ice Age floods. It is a hot spot for rock climbers, hosting up to 200 climbers on a summer weekend. However, we had it all to ourselves on a weekday.
We also returned to the Quincy Lakes where we have been visiting for 20 years. These ancient lakes are the remnants of the Columbia River before the Ice Age floods scoured a new gorge a mile to the west. Basalt canyons are filled with oases of green around scattered lakes. There is magic in the air.
And so we have returned home to Seattle where the weather is in the 70’s. It is about to become the hottest summer in history for our fair city with no high temp below 70 for July and August!