Saturday, June 30, 2012

Steptoe Butte

 Steptoe Butte - An Impromptu Destination

Returning from camping at a Powwow in Pullman,Washington, I see the sign for the turnoff to Step-toe Butte.  I have seen it hundreds of times in my 60 plus years off in the distance, yet never ventured to it's top.  Today is different.  I make the turn.

While putting together this post I realize all of my pictures are of Steptoe Butte looking out (down).  So I found this web picture of what it looks like from the highway.  Just thought you might want a peek

Step-toe Butte is a 150-acre, 3,612-foot-tall natural  thimble-shaped, quartzite butte about 45 miles from Spokane, Washington. It looms in bald grandeur over the prevailing flat, rolling farmland. The park is famous for its stark, dramatic beauty and the panoramic view it provides of surrounding farmlands, the Blue Mountains, and other neighboring ranges and peaks. A narrow road  winds around and around the butte.  Just before you get to the top you come to an outcropping of towers.  A testament to modern technology.  The only sign of habitation of humans on Step-toe Butte.

Then, finally you are on top of the butte.  The views are breathtaking.  It's a 360 degree view.


The area around Steptoe Butte was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years.  Native Americans called the butte "the power mountain." It was believed that a journey to the butte bestowed a gift of power from the mountain's guardian spirit.                                                                                                             

This place was a beginning to a new era..... 

but it is still an inspiring place to listen to the wind of change. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Old Homesteads and Rattlesnake Hunters

Traveling on the back roads of the Old West is one of my favorite pass times.  Nothing triggers my longing to explore like abandoned homesteads and tiny old time towns.  I can feel the history of each place lingering in the air, the voices of children playing by the waters edge.  

Homestead at Coffee Pot Lake

 I hear the voices in the soft winds rustling in the leaves.

I can see the farm animals who sustained the family meandering to the barn for the evening hay.

 Abandoned corrals and a rock fencepost square 

                                                   evidence of by gone times

Yet the day calls me back to the present. 
We picnic by the lake.

We watch as fisherman come and go.  Some catching fish, others moving on. 

Then the real excitement begins.  Two teens arrive and unload their truck of supplies.  They are rattlesnake hunters. They are working on a school project to catch, identify,  and measure rattlesnakes.  Let the show begin.   
With long sticks they search the rocks and bushes for snakes.

First snake of the day.....

                a bullsnake.

A picture and back into the wild.

 On to other catches.....      Can you see it?   Can you get it?     

It is a Western Pacific Diamondback Rattlesnake..... It has 10 rattles.

Rattlesnakes strike from this coiled up position.  In this picture the snake is shaking the rattle which made a soft rattling sound but, they don't always warn before striking.  They hold the snake to measure it and I touch the skin which is not cool but not slimy. 

I've had enough science lessons for the day...... we're off to safer ground.

At the Cowboy Cafe in Davenport Washington

The perfect ending to a Wild West Day.......

Sunday, June 24, 2012

On the Road again.....

Most of my life I have been a destination driver.  With my life moving toward full-time RVing, I decided to begin a new way of exploring.    In my past life, I drove the Interstate getting to my destination as quickly as possible and then exploring.   Now, I intend to slow down and meander and fully explore not only the destination but all that the journey has to offer. There are many interesting things to experience if we are just open to looking beyond the highway.   This trip, no freeway travel allowed.

I have admired the beautiful locations and photography of many bloggers of the southwest desert.  Yet my experience in the Washington State deserts has mostly been a rapid drive through the scab land and on to other destinations.   I find myself truly fascinated with the desert I have so long ignored.    Most everyone has heard of Grand Coulee Dam but there is far more to the area than the dam.  So we are off to the middle part of the state to experience the Coulee Basin Area.

Since I am a Foster Parent in Washington State, we are able to camp free at all of the State Campgrounds  


We chose Steamboat Rock State Park to be our home base. This is the view from across the bay from Steamboat Rock.  Our new home is the campground that sprawls along the shore at the base of Steamboat Rock.  There is a hiking trail that  is 1 1/3 mile to the top of the rock formation.  Steamboat Rock is surrounded by water except the narrow area to the left.  There is hiking, biking, swimming and a boating area available.   

We arrived mid week and found the campground had more than 25 vacant camping spots available.  We drove the tour and quickly chose a drive through spot close to the water and restrooms.  We camped in a brand new area so it didn't have much shade but since it was early in the year, that really wasn't a problem.  Later in the year shade is a necessity due to the heat.  

Here are some pictures of the surrounding area.  I could look at these rock formations all day.... they change hourly as the sun and shadows highlight their beauty.

The view from Steamboat Rock

A view from near our campsite

Nearby Northrup canyon had campsites and trails for riding horses & hiking to a nearby historic homestead

Horse Camp in Northrup Canyon

Trail to Northrup Canyon Homestead

 South of the Steamboat Rock area is an area carved out by the ice age when the Missoula ice dam broke free and the force of ice and water carved out part of the coulee basin that is shown below. 

Auntie on the catwalk telling the story of Dry Falls - remnants of the largest waterfall on Earth

Of course  no visit to the area would be complete without a trip to Grand Coulee Dam

There is enough concrete in the Grand Coulee Dam to make a four lane highway four inches thick, from Los Angeles to New Your City.  Wow, now that is big!! Including the left power station (shown to the left of the water and the right power station (not shown in this picture)  the dam is 1 mile long from side to side.

 There is a free laser show, shown each night on the dam.  It is especially  spectacular when the water is spilling over the dam with spring run off.  We were fortunate to view the dam with all the spill ways open.  

Thought for the day:

On the road again
Going places I have never been
Seeing things I many never see again.
I just can't wait to get on the road again     ( from a song by Willie Nelson )

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

1st Annual Glampers Weekend

Full time RVers may not be aware of the Glamping Revolution that is underway,  but this past weekend was the First to be Annual Glamping Weekend, June 1-3 2012.  It is a movement that combines glamor, camping and a whole lot of fun.  Since these are the campers that introduced me to the idea of solo camping, I joined them for a fun filled weekend.  This was an all ladies campout where most all the campers have a vintage camper, and gathered for a  fun filled weekend to kick of the camping season at Riverside State Park in Eastern Washington State. Campouts were happening all across the world to celebrate the joys of camping in the great outdoors. 

Spokane's version of Glamping Weekend took place in a picture perfect location just minutes from downtown Spokane on the banks of the Spokane River. 

The Pedestrian suspension bridge crosses over the river to miles of hiking trails.

                                                                                                             My daughter Stacy, and Furby accompanied me on this trip.

View from our camp

One of the awesome activities of trip was the Tour of the Trailers. Here are but a few.

Our Hostess with the Mostest, Grace

Julie's Iron Pony

Chick on the Run - The ultimate trailer accessory provides fresh eggs!

Patty's new Flamingo
I could so see my self living in this cozy little trailer!

There was fun entertainment from a Sister of the Fly and her Mister

Tribal belly dancing lessons for all

                                                  The Glampers Toast...

It's 5 O' Clock Somewhere!
Furby get's his toast

And to all......a Good Nite !

Great food, Great Company and Fun, Fun, Fun made it a Trip to Remember!