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.....
Chunks of columns,
cracked by weather,
from their positions
guarding the wall.
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
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.
Garbage or Historical Items?
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.
We reluctantly left this wonderful canyon,
a time capsule spanning thousands of years for the journey home,
to return again another day.