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“If you’re not moving, you’re standing  still.”


Steve Trafton

Spring and Summer 2020

Spokane to Pasco May 2020

A few years ago, Katherine and I, along with my brother Ike hiked the John Wayne Iron Horse Trail (now known as the Palouse to Cascades Trail) from Seattle to the Idaho border near Tekoa Washington. This May, as an add-on to that, this May, we decided to hike the Columbia Plateau Trail from Spokane to Pasco. These trails are perfectly suited to spring hiking, and since the mountains, our usual haunt was still snowbound, the Columbia Plateau Trail became our goal.

We started our 140-mile hike at the Fish Lake Trailhead in Spokane and hiked 7 miles along the trail to Fish Lake, just outside Cheney, Washington. From there, it was another 13 miles, through the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge to Amber Lake.

The next week we returned to Amber Lake and hiked 14 miles to Lamont and then another 13 miles to a remote farm road (McCall Road) near the intersection of the John Wayne Iron Horse Trail with the Columbia Plateau Trail. We finished with a hike of 12 miles from McCall Road to the town of Benge.

In the third week of May, we returned to Benge and continued toward Pasco by hiking 12 miles to Hooper. Along the way, we encountered several fledgling great horned owls who were just learning to fly from their nest in the basalt cliffs, which lined the trail. Hooper was another 15 miles to McAdam and finally 9 more miles to the town of Kahlotus.

In the last week of May, we returned to Kahlotus and followed the trail 11 miles through several long tunnels, around several long train trestles, and through patches of tumbleweed to the Snake River near Lower Monument Dam. From the dam we continued on along the river 12 miles to Voto Road and then another 12 miles to the Big Flat Habitat Management Unit. The final leg of our journey was 9 miles from Big Flat to Sacajawea Historical State Park at the intersection of the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Pasco, Washington.

This was a great Spring outing, and we recommend it to anyone searching for something to do during the Covid scare, and any other time they want some fresh air and incredible scenery.

Driving The North Cascades In ALF

June 23, Katherine and I took ALF 4 on the 200-mile drive from Newhalem, Washington, over the North Cascades Highway to Winthrop for lunch. Then, on past Twisp to the Columbia River at Pateros, along the Columbia River to Wenatchee and then up to Blewett Pass.

The weather was perfect, though a very hot 95 degrees along the Columbia. But the scenery was great. I highly recommend this drive to everyone.

Yakima River Kayak Trip in July 2020

Another perfect day, and Katherine and I were off to the Yakima River to Kayak, the 18 miles, from just south of Ellensburg to Yakima, through the Yakima River Canyon. We put in at the South Ringer Public Access point. The river was still running at a reasonably high watermark, and the current was swift. Even though the rapids were only Class 1 and 2, we had to be watchful when the river split at several points to avoid taking the wrong turn and ending up in a log jam or having to dodge trees lying across the river (so called “sweepers”). Another couple wasn’t so lucky that weekend and drowned after being trapped under a log jam.

We successfully navigated the obstacles, and after 3 hours of beautiful scenery in the canyon, we pulled out at the Roza Dam, just north of Yakima.

I would recommend this trip highly, but would recommend putting in at the Big Horn access site south of Ringer Public Access to be on the safe side and avoid possible log jams!

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