And we are off again!
This time we opted for a trek to central Washington. First off, coffee and a roll, then hit the highway. Going west on Highway #2, through Reardon, Davenport, Creston, Wilbur, Almira, Hartline and into Coulee City. We find ourselves at the south end of Banks Lake and just after we round the end of the lake, a left turn takes us on the road to Dry Falls and Sun Lakes State Park. We have seen abandoned barns, houses and trucks in the fields; an airplane with a superior pilot dusting crops; communities brimming with people going about their daily activities; farmers plowing and harvesting fields; and, of course, recreational fans on the lake of their choice.
The history behind Dry Falls is fascinating. Nearly 20,000 years ago, as glaciers moved south through North America, an ice sheet dammed the Clark Fork River near Sandpoint, Idaho. And at the same time, Glacial Lake Columbia was formed on the ice-dammed Columbia River behind the Okanogan Lobe of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet. Lake Columbia’s overflow – the diverted Columbia River – drained first through Moses Coulee and as the ice dam grew, later through the Grand Coulee. This sudden flood put parts of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon under hundreds of feet of water in just a few days. These extraordinary floods greatly enlarged the Grand Coulee and Dry Falls in a short period. The large plunge pools at the base of Dry Falls were created by these floods. Dry Falls is a 3.5 mile long scalloped precipice and when the flooding occurred those many, many years ago, channeled water at 65 miles per hour through the Upper Grand Coulee and over this 400 foot rock face at the end of the last ice age. It is estimated that the falls were five times the width of Niagara with ten times the flow of all the current rivers in the world combined. Mighty impressive!!!
Farther south on Route 17, we went into Sun Lakes State Park. We did a short road trip all through the base of Dry Falls and found Deep Lake on the far eastern edge. After getting out and wandering around there, we climbed back in the car and headed to Soap Lake, to stop and eat some lunch at the park and enjoy the view of the lake. We had seen some caves along the way there, the Lake Lenore Caves. There are hiking paths up to the caves, but we were tired and didn’t make that part of the trek. We found out that the caves were originally used by Native Americans who lived in the area and used the caves for food and supply storage when they were making trading journeys with other tribes.
Upon heading home, we decided that we would take a new route, so we headed east on on Route 28 to Wilson Creek, then north to Hartline. A quick pass through Hartline, detour on Schoolhouse Road (we see the abandoned schoolhouse) and back to Highway 2 and our route home. A good fun trip! Judy
My Mom used to talk about Dry Falls so it was great to finally see it. It is fascinating to see the land and read the history. At one place at the observatory it said that when the flood took place the water was 300 feet higher than where we were standing. Wow!
Judy is so fun to travel with, we’d see an old homestead or barn and she’d find the best farm road to get us close enough to make some great photos. I swear some of those houses were haunted. We did thank the residents for letting us photograph their homes. It was a fabulous day! shan