Saturday, October 25, 2014

Northrup Canyon - A Time Capsule Awaiting Exploration


Combine a historic ranch, long on intrigue, great geology, a crisp fall day with perfect weather and I can get positively excited about heading out for a hike.  In fact, Northrup Canyon was one of my must do hikes and one of the reasons I returned to the Grand Coulee area for this trip.   I was surprised and hooked by the history of this canyon that sent me on a two week quest for answers on the internet in addition to a fabulous hike.

Rich soil and a good water supply initially attracted settlers to this canyon.  John Warden Northrup purchased property and created irrigation systems, gardens and orchards.  Four generations of the Northrup family lived in Northrup Canyon until 1927.



The canyon opens up leading into the only naturally forested area in Grant County.  Sprinkled with fall colors it draws me into it's splendor.



Just before the trail drops down near the aspens, the trail has a Y.  The main trail leads off to the left and a smaller trail leads to the right and follows up along the canyon wall.  The former d Wagon Road between Almira and Bridgeport used for stage coach and freight wagons -- is there to explore. 






Leading down into the canyon , the aspen are just kissed by cooler temps making their yellowing leaves rustle in the gentle breezes.  The twittering of birds, unseen but heard quietly beckoning.....



And the canyon draws you in pulling you forward marveling at it's stunning formations leaving the small forest behind.






  Chunks of columns,
        cracked by weather,
                         break away,
from their positions 
           guarding the wall.
                    now
    t
      u
          m
              b
                  l
                      i
                         n
                             g
                                         DOWN

                          Broken  

                                             The sphinx broken, alone at the canyons floor.                                    
 

opening to the meadows which were used for farming


And the Northrup Homestead


John Warden Northrup, after several failed marriages, career changes and moving around the Northwest, he moved with his wife Catherine (Caty) Northrup into the canyon in the 1829.  They built a cabin, set out a garden and planted trees. Some of the apple trees they planted are still to be seen in Northrup Canyon.


When in 1894, John Warden Northrup's health began to fail, Israel Sanford leased part of  the property.  Soon afterward he killed Caty in a dispute over the ownership of the orchards in the sagging log house shown above that still stands on the property.  At trial he was found 'not of sound mind.'

So what happened to him?..... I want to know!


John's son George brought his wife Joella and family to the canyon and took over farming in the canyon after John's death in 1901.  George who had many occupations including sheriff, a banker, a real estate agent, lawyer, preacher and miner, never liked farming. 






The Canyon Lady



Love the stories of the strong and determined pioneer women of the west.



We stopped for lunch and visited with some local mountain bikers who at the ranch site eating their lunch and reminiscing about their childhood memories in the canyon and surrounding area.  After stopping for a bit we explored above the homestead before heading back down the trail.







See the homestead at the bottom of the grassy knoll.
Canyon hillside beyond the homestead.

Headed back down the canyon and met some explorers along the way


I stopped and chatted with a graduate student studying land and resource management. We talked about land management and the area Geology.  What a raw treasure this area is.  Interpretative signs would add so much to knowledge and enjoyment of the hikers along this trail. 

Hailey went on ahead but I found her mark along the trail.

Garbage or Historical Items?


Near the trail head I explore acres of historical artifacts. 

During the building of the Grand Coulee Dam, large camps of workers were located near the entrance to Northrup Canyon.  Large communal kitchens produced acres of  rusty piles which are now protected as historic.

Interesting how garbage cast aside in a few short years becomes historically significant. 



We reluctantly left this wonderful canyon, a time capsule spanning thousands of years for the journey home, to return again another day   

I often have said one of the things I hate about vacation type travel is time constraints often dictates returning another time to do all the unfinished sights and hikes. So it is with this trip.  I would rather stay and enjoy all that an area has to offer before moving on.  But I had hoped to climb Steamboat Rock and my hip dictated that I not do another challenging hike. 
Steamboat Rock and Candy Point trail.....Other hikes to be done another day

We reluctantly left this wonderful canyon,
                       a time capsule spanning thousands of years for the journey home,
                                                                                                   to return again another day.

  ~Happy Trails~ 



6 comments:

  1. what a Gorgeous Place, to bad they aren't going to try and save the Homestead, so much history in these old ranches and farms.

    Thank you once again for sharing your hike

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  2. Great stories! Loved the "tumbling" visual. I too always hated the time limitation on "vacations". Hope it's not toooooo long before you are able to fulltime again. You deserve it.

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  3. Wow, your photos are awesome and big enough to see..yay! Love the history lesson and I need to see this ara sometime in the future.

    Sad that they are just letting the homestead all fall down. I loved the little bit of history on the pioneer woman...thanks.

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  4. Have'nt been there in a long time. This was my families heritage. Northrupnis my maiden name. It was my grandfathers great great great grandfather. Its beautiful and amazing.

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  5. Have'nt been there in a long time. This was my families heritage. Northrupnis my maiden name. It was my grandfathers great great great grandfather. Its beautiful and amazing.

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    Replies
    1. Hayley, Rick Phillips here. I too am a descendant of the Northrup family and am related heavily to those who founded Northrup Canyon. My mom was Aleene Northrup, her parents were Al and Grace Northrup, my great grandparents were George and Joella Northrup and my 2x great were John & Phobe Northrup. My kids just gave me a professionally done genealogy report going back to the 1800s. Contact me if you'd like to talkk further----rphillips50@att.net or I am on facebook under Rick Phillips, South Bend, In.

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