22 June 2010

Yakima Skyline Trail and Palouse Falls

In search of warmth and sunshine we headed east of the state to a region where we thought we could find a sense of summer. We were fortunate to find not only sunshine, but breathtaking vistas and endless opportunities to try out my new camera. It is true we probably lead two of the most well documented lives, but it comes from the desire to create a photographic journal of our lives.

We started our adventure driving into the gated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Reserve just outside of Selah, WA. Once we went through that gate the only living things we saw during our time there were snakes and beetles. We started our hike on a 4 x 4 road, which quickly turned into a footpath which wound its way up through a valley. Upon reaching the canyon rim we saw why this hike has been compared to Montana's "big sky" country. In western washington we are not used to this kind of vastness, but rather trees punctuating your views. By the time we found a suitable place to set up camp the light was casting a delicious swath of golden beams all around us.

The desert flowers were each unique and beautiful in their own right. I could have spent an entire week documenting each of them. The smell of sage permeated the air and my allergies responded by going crazy.

We have opted for a lighter fare while backpacking and have turned to freeze dried food for sustenance. On this particular night we had Chicken Teriyaki with rice and the combination of hunger and lack of options made for this meal to be quite delicious.

Between the wind, the rain and the feeling that someone was outside shaking our tent the entire night we have deemed it our worst night of sleep ever, but restless nights mean early mornings and waking up at dawn's first light (4 am) has its perks beyond compare. They sky was like a symphony starting out slow and crescendoing into one grand finale. If waking up at four always looked like this I could easily be converted to a new way of life.

We packed up camp and made our way out and back to the car by 7am in sight of our next adventure, Palouse Falls State Park.

The wildflowers added little pops of color everywhere and were the eye candy on our hike.

Roza dam, and the Yakima River was the view from our tent.
Palouse Falls State Park had deep canyons and was reminiscent of a mini version of the grand canyon. We had to keep reminding ourselves we were still in Washington because the views were not what we are accustomed to seeing in this state.

This rock formation is like something you might see in Utah. We were able to hike along the interior of the canyon to the top of Palouse Falls. The trail was narrow, the drop off was steep and we are always horrified at how other people seem to oblivious to the potential dangers of slipping off.

The swiftly moving clouds and blue sky could mesmerize one for days.

Palouse Falls at just the right moment with a little rainbow off to its side.

The combination of changing light, rich colors, and wildflowers imprinted on my mind a love for this region and all it has to offer. We definitely are planning a trip back soon because now we know where to go when we need sun and warmth. Both of which seem to be rarities around here as of late.

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