was close to dark when we arrived in Walla Walla, WA for the night so
we waited until morning before taking a look around. I have always
loved the way the town's name just rolls off the tongue. Walla Walla is a
Native American name that means "Place of Many Waters. There was a
large amount of road construction going on in the downtown area and so
we weren't able to explore like we had hoped. The town looked cute and
perhaps one day we can return and take a second look. We did find
lovely Pioneer Park though, and took the time for a nice walk before heading out
While there were signs of early fall along the gorge it still felt like full summer here.
Those trees would be a climbing paradise for an adventurous kid!
first I thought we were looking at maple trees, and some were. However, as we
got closer I noticed the bark and the shape of the leaves were a little
different. After some research I discovered they were sycamore trees. It immediately brought to mind that old song "Dream a Little Dream of Me."
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
Birds singing in the sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me
About fifty miles north of Walla Walla is Palouse Falls State Park. Apparently, Palouse Falls are Washington State's "official falls". Needless to say, I convinced The Inspector that since these were the state's official falls and we were so close, that we needed to stop in for a look. Thus began our trek along a two lane highway that took us through miles of empty wheat and hay fields.
Eventually, we came to a small turnoff that took us down a long and empty gravel road. By now, we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into.
A few miles in we finally found ourselves in a small parking area and campground. We found the falls a short walk down the hill from the parking lot.
Compared to the lush green beauty of the day before this area was pretty isolated and desolate, but the rock formations and canyon area were very interesting. The whole region was carved out during the Ice Age. The Palouse River flows over the cliff 200 feet into the bowl below and then continues on through the canyon gorge until it reaches the Snake River. Once again, there was a hiking trail that could take you to different views of the falls but because of my limitations we elected to admire it from across the canyon.
The day was advancing so it was time to drive on through more wheat fields to our destination of the day, Grand Coulee Dam.
Upon arrival in the late afternoon, we found ourselves staying at a cute little local hotel right across street from the dam and visitor center.
We did not find Grand Coulee to be as attractive as the Bonneville Dam. However, at just under a mile long and 550 feet tall it's considered to be one of the engineering marvels of the world. According to the National Park Service, it's more massive than the Grand Pyramid of Giza and contains enough concrete to build a highway from Seattle clear across the country to Miami. That's pretty big.
We walked up to the visitor center and explored the history of the construction of Coulee. We learned it was built and completed during the Great Depression and supplied most of the power to the northwest ship builders and to Boeing for the construction of planes and ships during WWII. Once the war was over it began to supply the water needed to irrigate the more than 600,000 acres of arid land that has been converted into the wheat fields we just passed through earlier in the day. Because of Grand Coulee this area is a "bread basket" instead of a desert. Today,in addition to irrigation, it's the largest producer of hydro power in the United States and still one of the largest in the world.
On a lighter note, we walked back over later in the evening to enjoy the laser light show "One River Many Voices" projected across the the face of the dam. It was a big foggy and my pictures didn't turn as well as I had hoped but it was a cute little show and fun to see the dam in a different light. (no pun intended, lol!)
On the morning of Day 4 we took a short walk in the park at the base of the dam before heading to Winthrop.
By the time we reached Winthrop a pretty big storm had blown in and it was raining heavily, so no pictures. We decided to stop for lunch, see a few shops and then head for home. Here are a few photos from a previous time we were here a few years ago. It was a much sunnier day as you can see.
As we traveled west over the North Cascade Highway we happened past one last unnamed waterfall flowing down the side of the mountain as we made our way home in the rain.
While it's always fun to take a road trip it's nice to get home as well. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the diversity of our northwest landscape. Til next time, all blessings to you and yours.