Saturday, September 5, 2009

Travelogue: Washington Wanderings

If you're looking for a horsie post, you can skip this one (though there are two rather large equines towards the end). I'll be back tomorrow with some silly Sunday videos.

Al and I went away for sort of a mini-second-honeymoon last weekend. It started out as a trip to see Jackson Browne in concert, and ended up being a very pleasant meander through south-central Washington. We left Ellensburg about noon, after determining that Jackson's (the colt, not the singer/songwriter) butt swelling was somewhat benign. We headed south through Yakima and turned south-west at Toppenish on Highway 97.
After leaving the wheat fields of the Goldendale plateau, and the main road, we came over this hill....
...into the Klickitat River valley. TREES! First some sort of oak, reminiscent of the live oaks of central California. Then a nice mix of pines and firs as we moved farther up the foothills of the Cascade range.
This was a fairly open area.
A little ways further and we discovered the valley had become somewhat of a canyon.
(Hey! Who's that under the tree, and what's he shooting?)
(Oh, just some gal taking pictures of the canyon.)
Then suddenly, the road emptied out into this plain and gave us our first really good shot of Mount Adams to the west.
And Mount Hood off to the south.
Quaint little motel/inn in Trout Lake, at the base of Mount Adams, where we stayed Friday night.
Each room has it's own special bear.
The morning view out our window--better than any motel I've ever stayed in before!
Our porch, with guest.
Our gracious host, Dave, and his daughter, Sarah (who makes killer sweet potato waffles for the continental breakfast).
The next day we wandered south toward the Columbia River gorge.
We're getting closer to Oregon: Mt. Hood over the rooftops of White Swan.
We stopped at a rest stop overlooking the River.
Can you say "The Bridges of Klickitat County"?
This old tree caught my eye.
On it's other side a sign that says:
"I am approx. 300 years old."
We putzed around the rest stop for about an hour, hoping to catch a train on it's way through one of the tunnels on either side of (and directly under) us.
No trains, but Al caught this guy swooping through.
(If you en-big-gin the photo, you'll see that his head is red and featherless--some sort of vulture?)
We had to settle for a train on the opposite side of the river.
This fellow was biking from Astoria, on the Oregon coast, to Green Bay, Wisconsin! When Al said he'd always wanted to do something like that on his bike, but figured he'd missed his youthful chance, the fellow reported that he is 54 years old!! We had passed him before the rest stop, and he passed us again when we arrived in Lyle, but I never got a decent shot of him riding.
We took the time to explore the "Old Hwy 8" route that went above the River.
We passed this cute carriage, pulled by two monstrous draft mules.
The only photo I got from the front--a quarter mile later I wished I had stopped.
Coming back down to the water,
we spotted this humongous kite! (The handler is down on the sand bar, behind the bluff overlooking the River.)
The highway bridge at the confluence of the Klickitat River and the Columbia.
(There's that cute photographer guy again!)
The little railroad hotel that we stayed in after the concert on Saturday night was a bit of a disappointment: a cute concept, but it couldn't seem to decide if it wanted to be a posh gourmet hideaway, or an out-of-the-way bed and breakfast. It was so unremarkable, we didn't even take any pictures.

Leaving town the next morning, heading north-east up the lower end of Klickitat River.
Whose that sharing the roadway? This little herd of deer, two does and their three fawns, still with spots, were coming down the hill towards the river. They had steep basalt cliffs to their right, and a drop off worthy of a guardrail to their left. They could have scrambled out either direction, but it would have been difficult.

What do we do, mama deerest?
Should we jump over the side here?
No, I think we're okay going a little farther.
Here's our regular path to the river, kids.
Thanks for waiting, humans.

It was nice to be able to just turn off the engine and wait for this group to pass. How pleasant, not being in a hurry to get anywhere!

Back over to the dry side of the state!Al and I were in denial about heading home, so we made a brief side trip...
We visited this State Park at the site of an early military post.
A replica of an old log barracks. I love the symmetry.
Well, we couldn't stall any longer; it was time to head for home (and a waiting puppy dog).
One thing that grows well in the lower Yakima Valley is hops (for brewing). Very few people would know what this crop was, suspended from guy wires....
Dropping down into the green of the Kittitas Valley.
Mount Stuart just visible through the haze (from recent brush fires).
They're here!
Al gets mobbed.

Happy puppy!

Good to be home!


  1. Thanks for the photos and the travel stories - I think that is some sort of vulture - and loved the mules!

  2. Very enjoyable travelogue, EvenSong. Two buddies enjoying their time away, with a tone of well-being running all the way through the scenery changes. Thanks for the the guided tour - I've never seen any of that part of the country, but now have a feel for the land. No, I can't say "Bridges of Klickitat County" - my tongue got tripped up every time:) Loved the deer, and the draft horses and the turkey vulture (I think that's what it was) and the happy puppy shot when you arrived home. Oh.. and the 54-year-old cyclist! Holy Moly, the guy looks at least ten years younger than that!

  3. Thanks for taking us along on your journey - I really enjoyed the phototour. I agree with Carol, that is a turkey vulture. They seem to be experiencing a population explosion this year - I've never seen so many!
    Hard to believe that cyclist is 54!!!