Palouse Country (part 2)

On our second day in Palouse area, we continued to explore. We drove through small roads (some unpaved) to reach Kamiak Butte.  The County Park is named in honor of Chief Kamiaken of the Yakama Indian Tribe. We parked and we walked up. The Butte rises to an elevation of 3641 feet/1110 meters. The view we get is through the trees. We saw pretty wild flowers. Again, we were happy we didn’t get rain as the sky was very cloudy.

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The view is similar to the one we had at Steptoe Butte  but here we didn’t get a 360 degree view when we reached the top.

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We drove  further south . We  stopped in Colton  to see the  Roman Catholic Church. More than 100 years old but in very good condition. We even went  inside. I was surprised it was not locked.  One lady living close by  saw me taking photos and came with us in the church.  We had a friendly chat.

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We continued our route and saw the famous fence made with 1000 wheels.

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I must say that  barns are in numbers. Especially red barns. I didn’t count how many we saw but I am sure this area has the most red barns in the whole state.

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We decided to drive further south and end up in Idaho  in a town called Lewiston. The view of the town from the highway is nice. We could see the Snake River.  And on the photo below  you see  part of the Old Spiral HWY.

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I will have one more post about Palouse to show you more photos I took during this trip. After all, the main reason to go there was to take lots and lots of photography. I probably took about 1500  but of  course, many had to be deleted.

Thanks for reading my story.

 

 

 

Palouse Country.

This post is about our trip to Palouse Country, Washington State.  The origin of the name may have been from the Palus Indian Tribe. French-Canadian trappers and fur traders may have used the French word pelouse meaning “land with short, thick grass” to describe the area. The Palouse Hills extend out from Steptoe Butte and cover an estimated 3,000 square mile region in SE Washington and Northern Idaho.  We look out upon a sea of wind-blown hills dotted with ancient buttes surrounded by distant mountains. The fertile silty loess makes the Palouse a productive farming region. In the Palouse wheat is king.

We left home on Sunday morning (May 22) quite early.  Our very first interesting stop was to see Palouse Falls and the Palouse River.  It is a 198 foot falls with high volume of water (in the spring and the fall). The iconic falls has been deemed the official water falls of Washington State.  This is an amazing spot for photography.  We didn’t hike down to get close to the falls. I could see it was a narrow path and did not feel very safe. I noticed also that there were many places with no fence. The view of the river was also really nice.

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You can see here where the water flows …into the river.  You can see people just above the canyon. And if you look carefully you will notice a trail ( on the right of the image below) . This is to allow you to get closer to the fall . Personally, I think it is a bit  risky to walk there but we saw people doing it.

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After about one hour, we drove to Colfax where we were going to spend 3 nights. Colfax is a very small town with less than 3000 of population. On the main street, you find a few restaurants, banks, post office, gas station, grocery store and some businesses.

The next  morning, we were up bright and early and ready to go to Steptoe Butte, a National Natural Landmark.  A Steptoe is an isolated hill, or mountain, of older rock that is surrounded by younger lava flows. This island in a sea of stone (quartzite that is some of the oldest rock in Washington State) is 3612 feet. It has survived massive floods and burning lava.

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Driving over there from Colfax was not very long but the ride was nice with all the green and the rolling hills on each side of the road. We saw some sheep and lamas.  During our time in Palouse, we saw also  lots of horses and some cows.

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We arrived  to the butte and  drove slowly as I wanted to capture it all. When we got to the top, we had a 360 degree view on the whole area. It was cloudy, very windy and cold, about 8C. But the view was magnificent.

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We had two full days to explore the area and see as much as we could.  Not much traffic on the roads. The villages we visited were also very quiet.  We realized that there was not much work happening on the fields also. All the work must had  been done already.

We were  happy with our first day. Especially because we didn’t have much rain. Just a little in the afternoon. Those big clouds would eventually go away.  My next post will show you more of Palouse Country.  We even went back up to Steptoe Butte at the end of our second day as the sun was out and I knew the photos would be more interesting  ( the sky less  cloudy and gray).

Thanks for reading/commenting. It means a lot to me. MERCI.

 

Driving from PD to YVR

After good time in Southern California, visit in Arizona and New Mexico, it  was time to say good bye and hit the road to get home in Vancouver , BC.

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A road trip means that sometimes you get to be on the road early , stop only  when necessary, sleep and repeat until you reach your final destination.  With 2240 km to cover in 3 days, it is more or less what we did.

On Day 1, we drove in California with nice weather  until we arrived in Sacramento.  We drove just in front of the beautiful California  State Capitol.  The Neoclassical structure was completed between 1861 and 1874. The building is based on the US Capitol building in Washington DC. I took some shots that day but we also came back to see it with better light  the following  morning.

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On Day 2, we drove 857 km. The morning  ride was wet. But it didn’t stop me to take photos through the window.

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We left  California and  drove in Oregon until we arrived in Salem which is also the capital of that state. We didn’t make any visits  but enjoyed a nice dinner in a Mexican restaurant.20160305_181310

On Day 3, we only had 584 km on the road. We went by Washington State without stopping unless it was necessary. Normally, we have a picnic and we make a quick stop in a rest area. DSC02673

Here is a shot of Seattle seen from Highway #5.

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We  finally crossed the border and said:  Hello Canada !!

After 53 days away and so many fun adventures, we felt blessed to be back home with great memories. When I write this blog, I relive my trip and  I enjoy it one more time. I hope you enjoyed it also.  Every year, I am lucky to go to many places and I don’t always have enough time to write about it. Soon, I will tell our story  when we were in  to France and Spain  last year (2015)  as I didn’t share it yet. But first, I will write about our visit in Eastern Washington State . With some interesting photos.

Thanks again for reading and/or taking time to tell me what you think when you read my post. I’ll be back soon with other FUN and LIFE adventures.

Animals we see in Palm Desert

I though it would be fun to show you some animals we saw in Palm Desert. Not those we saw at the Living Desert as I already shared a post on it. Sometimes, when we went for a walk by a golf course, we saw  jack rabbits.

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Hares and jackrabbits are leporids   belonging to the genus   Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits . They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live  solitary  or in pairs. Hares are swift animals:  The five species of jackrabbits found in central and western North America are able to run at 64 km/h    (40 mph), and can leap up to 3 m (10 ft) at a time!!

It is not unusual also to spot some road runners. The greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is a long-legged  bird  in the  cuckoo  family. The Latin name means “Californian earth-cuckoo”. Roadrunner prefers walking or running and is quick enough to catch and eat insects, lizards and rattlesnakes.

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The American coot, also known as a mud hen, is a bird of the family Rallidae. Though commonly mistaken to be ducks, American coots belong to a distinct order. American coots are found near water reed-ringed lakes and ponds, open marshes, and sluggish rivers.

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One day, I saw a woodpecker. I am always challenged to take photography of birds but I tried my best here.  With a little research I was able to identify the bird. It must be a   Nuttall’s woodpecker . This bird is not considered globally threatened although the range is restricted to the California  Endemic Bird Area.  They are fairly common in California with a total world population estimated at over 100,000 individuals. They have zygodactyl feet and stiff tail feathers which allows them to maintain a vertical position on trees; typical of woodpeckers.

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Thanks for reading this post. I have one more post to share about this trip in California.

 

 

 

Flowers in Palm Desert (in February).

On this post from our time in Southern California, I will share some photographs of flowers  . I am really not an expert as to tell you all the name of the flowers  but I sure enjoyed the color and capture them with my camera !

The first photo is  a bougainvillea. Many of today’s bougainvillea are the result of interbreeding among only three out of the eighteen South American species recognized by botanists. Currently, there are over 300 varieties of bougainvillea around the world.

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The pretty  flowers we see here must be from an acacia tree.  I love the pretty yellow color.

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I am not sure what those  white flowers are but they are  nice, aren’t they ?

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some bright red flowers and a butterfly …

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more flowers for you…

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Thanks for looking at the flowers from Southern California.

 

 

 

 

 

1000 Palm Oasis

Another day, another adventure. This time, we went for a hike at the Thousand Palms Canyon of the Coachella Valley  Preserve. This nearly 20,000 acre Preserve is so close and yet far enough away  ( from Palm Desert) to immerse yourself in the beauty and solitude of the magnificent  Coachella Desert.  The San Andreas Fault, the most famous and visible fault of its kind in the word  is located in this area.

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We could admire the giant California fan palms with their stately trunks as high as 60 feet  and their grass skirts remaining still as a hula dancer at rest .

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The fruit of the fan palm was eaten raw, cooked or ground into flour for cakes by native Americans.

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The Cahuilla and related tribes used the leaves to make sandals, thatch  roofs and baskets. The stems were used to make cooking utensils.

We went for a hike  on a warm spring day ( it was the last day of February). We enjoyed the sight of many wild flowers like the desert sunflowers…

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the Indigo bush…

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and some hairy sand verbena…

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We also saw some  happy lizards sunbathing in the sun.  I believe they are Coachella fringe-toed lizards.

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We were happy with our day . Taking advantage of a nice warm day outside is always great. Thanks for reading my travel story. In my next post I will show you more flowers we can see in Palm Desert .

Shields Date Garden

Here is a bit of history for you.  Floyd and Bess Shields came to the California Desert in 1924 and started Shields Date Garden.  They worked long and hard to built up their business and educate customers about date culture. Floyd was a pioneer in the date business, breeding this own varieties  of dates.  For educational purpose we can watch a short movie  called : The romance & Sex life of the Date.  A very educational little movie !!

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The date is the oldest known cultivated tree crop an one of the least understood of all fruits produced. Palms are planted at 48 females to one male per acre. Each male palm can produce enough pollen for 49 female trees. Each bundle of dates is pollinated by hand. Pollination is done during February and March. Some varieties have fewer leaves and therefore fewer dates per tree. Thinning promotes larger and better fruit for the current year and normal blooms for the next year’s crop.

Protective paper covers are put over the date bunches during July and August to protect the ripening fruit form summer rains and birds. The dates  begin to fully ripen at the end of August, and from then until Christmas, the trees are picked several times as the fruits ripen. The  gardens are cleaned up after the fruit is picked and the yearly cycle of date culture begins again.

The dates are reached by climbing up ladders permanently attached to each tree . The trees at Shields Date Garden are 15 to 90  years old. On the photo below you can see the ladder on the  very tall tree.

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We bought some dates. I am not sure which one taste the best.  Medjool Dates are  the largest variety of dates. They are a soft date. They are often called the “Cadillac” of dates. They grew in the California Desert from offshoots imported  by USDA from Morocco.  Deglet Noor Dates are a semi-dry date originally from Algeria. Many people prefer Deglet Noor dates because they are more chewy than a Medjool and not as rich.

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The average size date has 21 calories and 5-6 medium sized dates equal one serving of five-a-day fruit and vegetable servings. A serving of dates is a fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free and a good source of fiber. They contain many mineral and vitamins.  Dates are healthy.  So, let’s eat dates !!!

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I hope you enjoyed the information about the dates ! Thanks for reading.