Again, The Palouse


Ruth and I love The Palouse.  This 4,000-square-mile area in the southeast part of Washington State, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, holds special memories for both of us.  During this year’s visit, the wheat crop was being harvested.   Most of this bountiful grain is shipped to Asia.   Japan and Korea buy most of it.  It’s harvested with huge combines that cling to hillsides without toppling.  Ruth and I have ridden in them.

The Palouse in the summer looks like sand dunes covered with wheat fields.   This year we found the perfect place to see The Palouse in all its majesty because we discovered Steptoe Butte.

There are 186 state parks in Washington. This is more than California has.  There are 10,336 state parks in the United States, and Steptoe Butte is one of the more unusual ones.  A 3,612-foot-tall quartzite island pyramid of only 150 acres, it’s surrounded by wheat farms on all sides.  Over 400 million-years-old, Steptoe Butte can be seen up to 100 miles away on a clear day.  It’s rather isolated but people with cameras love to be on its top at sunrise and sunset.

Theories abound, but The Palouse is probably named for the Palus people, a native American tribe that met Lewis and Clark during their grand adventure.  The Palus are listed among Native American Tribes and Nations as The Palouse but no current population numbers are given.  They are said to be part of the Yakama nation now.  The Palus were known to be expert horsemen, and the Appaloosa horse was reportedly named for them.

There’s a narrow road all the way to the top of Steptoe Butte.  When we drove it last Sunday, we shared it with only 2 other cars. Established as a state park in 1946, there was a hotel atop Steptoe for 20 years until 1908.   I was surprised to drive through a couple of modest forest areas about half-way to the summit.   Palouse views were spectacular all the way up, and “Top of The Palouse” is a frequent and apt name for this butte.





About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

Comments are disabled.

%d bloggers like this: