The Palouse, Part I   10 comments

The sun's first rays sweep across the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse in southeastern Washington state.

The sun’s first rays sweep across the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse in southeastern Washington state.

I’ve finally checked something off my list I’ve been wanting to do for about two years.  That is, spend some quality time in Washington state’s Palouse region.  This is the rich farmland that stretches in a NE-trending belt along the Snake River southeastern Washington.  It laps over into southwestern Idaho.

The Palouse, a region of rolling, rich agricultural land in southeastern Washington is a very green and peaceful place in springtime.

The Palouse, a region of rolling, rich agricultural land in southeastern Washington is a very green and peaceful place in springtime.

The Palouse is justifiably famous among landscape photographers of the western U.S. and beyond.  But I’ve only spent snatches of time here on the way to somewhere else.  It has never represented a destination.  That changed this week, as I spent 5 days tooling around the rolling green wheat fields, the delightful glens, the sparsely forested hills of the Palouse.  I’ll just give an introductory taste here, saving more travel and photo tips, along with a geology primer, for later posts.

Palouse Falls in southeastern Washington.

Palouse Falls in southeastern Washington.

Coming in from the west, the obvious first destination is Palouse Falls, which lies on the western edge of the region.  This is a big bold waterfall, just shy of 200 feet high, that plunges into a large semi-circular bowl lined with tall dark cliffs of basalt.  It was cloudy when I arrived, and the sunset turned out to be fairly colorless.  So the picture here is not the best you will see of this spot, popular with photographers as it is.  But the short time I spent was definitely enhanced by the comical and obviously overfed marmots playing along the cliff edge, hoping for yet another handout from overindulgent visitors.

A marmot at Palouse Falls in Washington rests after a strenuous session of looking cute for handouts.

A marmot at Palouse Falls in Washington rests after a strenuous session of looking cute for handouts.

I went on to the heart of the Palouse, traveling northeast to spend the night in lonely rolling hills of spring wheat near the town of Dusty.  Yes, that is the place’s real name, but perhaps calling it a town is not really fair to real towns.  There is gas and a sometimes-open store but not much else.  The light was gorgeous at sunrise, and despite the evening before, I felt my trip was off to a good start.  Stay tuned for more.

By the way, if you are interested in any of these images (which are copyrighted and not available for download without my permission), please contact me.  Most will be up on my main webpage in a few days when I return home.  Thanks for your interest.

Wheat is the name of the game in the Palouse of Washington state.

Wheat is the name of the game in the Palouse of Washington state.

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10 responses to “The Palouse, Part I

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  1. Great series!

  2. You definitely sold me on the beauty of that place. Fantastic.

  3. Awesome shot of the falls!

  4. I swear that 2nd shot was mirrored in the movie Toys with Robbin Williams. Have you seen it?

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