Monday, July 28, 2008

Tour Eastern Washington instead of Paris

One of my favorite areas - the expanses of Eastern Washington. Specifically the Palouse - toward Idaho and central. Knute Berger in Crosscut Seattle They say travel is about the people, but one of the great things about Eastern Washington is that there are no people, at least by Pugetopolis standards. Okanogan County is nearly the size of Connecticut but has fewer than 40,000 residents. Empty roads, dry coulees, vast amber waves of grain, no madding crowds, that's part of the appeal. Up until a few years ago, the Seattle Seahawks sent their players to training camp in Cheney ... we merely passed through on the way to nearby Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. This place is maybe 40 minutes outside Spokane, but you might as well be on another planet. It sits in a geologic area called the Channeled Scablands, a name dreamed up by the Lesser Eastern Washington Tourism Bureau as a way to scare folks off. Who but a leper wants to holiday in a land of scabs? The term describes a landscape shaped by an enormous flood. Apparently, thousands of years ago, Montana was a giant bathtub of melted ice water, and then someone pulled the plug. Al Gore's ancestor wasn't around to stop the catastrophe, and the resulting Biblical splash scoured the landscape.
The photo is the best demonstration of the Channeled Scablands; the gently rolling hills on the right were cut through by the mega-flood resulting in the ugly area on the left.

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