Friday Frivolity a day late…
Picture this… you can add your imagination as you read my narrative. But the pictures don’t stay where I put them. So, you’ll have to scan to the bottom every once in a while.
We chose to visit a waterfall on our way to Spokane. My iPad map sent us out into the wheat fields of Washington. This particular county proclaims itself as the largest wheat producing county in America and it was apparent as soon as we left the suburb of Spokane Valley.
For 40-some miles we wound our way across thousands of acres of wheat fields. The Michigan processing of a wheat-field is singular. One after the other, a Mid-western farmer would work a single piece of farmland—plow, then plant, then harvest, then bale. In Washington, the landscape is seemingly in constant flux of all four stages at once. It is fall now, so none of the land is in mid growth…green wavy fields of future Bran Flakes. Now, huge sections of land have been harvested leaving golden stubble. Quite pretty, but hardly a “Scenic Route” even though signs as frequent as Burma Shave define it as officially “scenic”.
I suppose “scenic” applies if you consider a mosaic of America’s greatest “Wheaties” County is picturesque. Note: the first photo below below shows 3 stages. Golden stubble, smooth brown tilled land and curved hints of the next harvest.
In the mid-foreground, please observe the 4th stage of a wheat field in Washington (following harvest, mowing and discing). The beautifully curled green-growth should not be confused with crop circles. True, they are artistically planted in mesmerizing swirls, but the swirls probably just function as erosion protection. These wheat-fields are often planted on mountain slopes steeper than many of the slopes I sledded on in my youth.
Forty miles of endless wheat fields, all the while searching for any slope at all. True, several reminders of this route being scenic, but no sign mentioning a “waterfall”. Wait! Instead of yet another sign declaring “Scenic Route” comes this sign—
And just why would anyone even think of stopping, much less Park. We haven’t seen so much as a farm house in two hours. No wild animals, tractors, cows or natives to take pictures of. Nor are there any trails to temp someone to “park” to take a hike.
And to where would anyone hike…a bush to pee behind? Though I probably should not have gulped down 48 ounces of Mountain Dew in the 48 miles to get this far, and we were the only traffic I’d seen in an hour, I wasn’t even tempted to “park & pee”.
Eventually, we neared our destination. Except that “near” cannot be measured with eyesight, for as far as I could see the road disappeared into the horizon. Not over a ridge or up a mountain for water to fall from. Near could be thought of in terms of nearing boredom from flat landscape.
Ah, but my iPad speaks. The voice in my Bluetooth—I have yet to understand what any color of tooth should be in my ear—advises me to turn left. What the voice did not advise me was the left turn was off the two lane asphalt road onto a one-lane with smoothed shoulder, “lava gravel” washboard.
As you can see there still are not even any hills for water to cascade down. There’s not even a street side curb for water to trickle along IF a few drops of rain should fall along this road—a road expected to dead-end in 2 miles.
There’s a reason there are no cattle in the picture. They all died of thirst. We haven’t passed so much as a dried up creek-bed in 50 miles. My skepticism of finding any water much less it falling somewhere, is growing faster than the brown grassland.
Two more miles of flat terrain driving on the crushed lava was accomplished a crawl of 15 MPH. NO, that wasn’t a posted speed limit. Did I mention “washboard?” Our rented Yukon shook like it was on a GM suspension test.
And then, almost without the slightest hint of a ditch deeper than the ruts in the road, the terrain drops suddenly into an ice age gouge in the landscape.
MAGNIFICENT ! Awesome in both the beauty of the waterfall, but also in the gorgeous geological remnants due to the creeks erosion since ancient glaciers formed this massive gouge in the Washington flatland.
It was well worth every skeptical mile of laughter along the way to this impressive bit of God’s handiwork.
And that’s the way it was in Spokane Valley, just a few miles from Steptoe, Washington. Nope, I did not make up the name for that city. I’m only guessing of course, but I wonder if the city…okay, a couple farm houses and a junk yard…near here, was named after some famous Yakima Indian…likely the son of Chief Stubtoe the lovely Princess Twinkletoes. (No offense intended to any Indian tribe, it’s just the original owners of this area)