Spring break happens in March, and we always look forward to having our kids around for at least a portion of their vacation. It has been our practice to spend time traveling to a place we especially enjoy, like the beach or a state park nearby. This year the weather was chilly and rainy, but that didn't stop us from taking a day trip and enjoying the first picnic of spring. We went to Palouse Falls, a beautiful place that happens to be out in the middle of nowhere! After miles of desolate highway driving through wheat fields and scrub land, a small sign points to a cattle crossing and a narrow dirt road. This road winds through a desert cow pasture, complete with munching cattle! It leads to a space that opens up to a parking lot that is usually always filled with cars and motorcycles! Many others had the same idea we did on this early spring day.
The center of attraction? The falls! It spills from the Palouse River which winds through scabland known for its coulees, cataracts, plunge pools, potholes, rock benches, buttes, and pinnacles. The river bottom virtually drops off to 200 feet below, creating a magnificent waterfall that seems especially muddy and wild this spring.
Although portions of the park cliffs are surrounded by sturdy chain-link fence, not all areas are. As you will see in a later picture, a walking trail follows a cliff edge, leading people to a point at the top of the falls. Another trail leads hikers to the basin at the bottom of the falls where fishing seems to be especially popular.
After the waterfall, the Palouse River can be seen as it goes through the Sentinel Bluffs of the Grand Ronde Formation. I think it is especially beautiful in early spring when shades of green can be seen in new growth. When summer comes, the color will change to a gray-brown and the bluffs won't have nearly the contrast in color and shade.
The men who were visiting by motorcycle had a marvelous BBQ and picnic in the only covered pavilion area. Since it was drizzling a bit, we decided to do our sight-seeing first and wait until they left to have our lunch. As their bikes roared away, we set up for our picnic lunch. My guys noted that people kept looking at our table as they walked by, probably because a cheerful daffodil bouquet graced our picnic table. But the guys didn't mind. As long as there is good food, they seem to be content.
The rain continues, and early this morning spring winds have arrived. Patience is the word for March! But it's nearly over and hopefully some warm and dry days will arrive with April! Happy spring!