I am grateful to live in Washington State. It’s a place filled with diversity, creativity and loads of natural beauty. My roots are firmly planted here, with ancestors first arriving in 1860. I feel fortunate to live in a state where our governor has initiated a four-part strategy to reopening the State as Washington’s COVID-19 curve flattens. On May 5, phase one of the plan provided Lily and me with an opportunity for adventure!
And not just for us. That 9-year-old person tagged along, too.
The 9-year-old arrived as the result of our current “Bowl” game. On the very day of our anticipated adventure, Nurture Bowl gave us this task:
Do something like a little kid would
But how little a kid? After a good, hard think we settled on the nine-year-old, someone with her own insights and opinions who, we hoped, would not be overly dependent on us. The first necessity was planning our provisions: for lunch, a peanut butter and jam sandwich.
We insisted on “fruit only” jam. You can’t let these little kids run the whole show!
The next place the nine-year-old had her say was wardrobe selection. Her taste runs along the lines of a subdued Tavi Gevinson*- -black and white striped pioneer shirt, vividly colored vest of Central American origin and a straw boater hat.
And our usual Levi’s 501s, plus a pink bandana.
Because, hey, all three of us totally get it about social distancing and masking up when in public. But back to the adventure. On May 5, 100 State Parks reopened in Washington State! The three of us set out at 9:13 AM in search of nearby State parks.
Our first stop: Lewis and Clark Trail State Park, midway between Waitsburg, WA, and Dayton, WA. It’s a gem of a place, small and green with plenty of interpretive displays about Lewis and Clark’s expedition 1804-1806. Other than the park ranger, we were the only ones there.
After 20 appreciative minutes we moved on to the Lewis and Clark Encampment Sculpture near Dayton, WA. This is one of my favorite public art installations, inspired by the 2006 bicentennial of the expedition’s return trip. It’s placed where the party camped on May 2, 1806. The sculpture- -2-dimensonal bronze figures including all the members of the Corps of Discovery, plus horses and dogs- -is fully visible from an overlook, with a complete legend for reference. The smaller dogs (I hate to tell you) and, sometimes, the horses, were used as dinner ingredients.
That second exclamation was 9 (I’m calling her that because she hasn’t told us her name yet). We ate the PBJ and half a granny smith apple to change the subject. With more than two hours left of the time allotted for our adventure, we headed northwest. It was a gorgeous spring day, pale periwinkle clouds dotting clear blue sky and the temperature headed for 80F. I’d been on the fence about driving up to Palouse Falls, one of Washington’s incredible beauty spots, figuring if there were crowds anywhere they would be there, but. . .
It would have been totally lame to back out on one more adventure.
And you would still be telling me that now, Lily, I have no doubt. In the interest of keeping internal peace we strove forth, through my Dad’s birthplace of Starbuck, WA, and fifteen miles beyond to the Falls. The park gate was open, a long graveled road leading down to the overlook. The car ahead of me churned up whopping clouds of dust.
We took the first available parking space and trundled over a hill, past couples and families who maintained their social distancing orbits, not a lot of masks but plenty of space between us. From this approach, we heard the Falls before we saw them. They run furiously enough to roar at this time of year. The color of the water mutates from deep green to white as powerful volumes shoot down the face of basalt rock, nestled in the primitive beauty of the Channeled Scablands**.
I don’t usually pay attention to nature stuff, but, wow!
It was definitely the high point of an adventure-packed day, but, in spite of the beauty and lure of the Falls, I started thinking about the drive back to Walla Walla. We chose a route that skirted Prescott, WA, and happily noticed that our former place out there, a charming little farmhouse on two acres, is being lovingly maintained by the new owners. Horses in the pasture, chickens in the yard, the acre of lawn lush, green and recently mowed.
I hope that you, too, are able to find a safe, sane adventure in these pandemic times. Our 165 mile trek filled me with contentment.
Double me, too.
Make her stop!
Double make her stop!
Be patient, Lily, 9 is working through a lot of issues right now. Her year of reference is 1969. She’s still stuck in Mrs. Morton’s fourth grade and hasn’t recovered from the 1968 presidential election.
Does she still have the Hubert Horatio Humphrey bumper sticker on her bulletin board?
Yes, she does.
And that mean boy who sits behind her at school- –
The one who pulls her hair and glues her rounded scissors together?
‘Fraid so. So have some compassion Lily. And 9, it’s okay if you want to hang out with us, but try not to be a copy-cat, okay?
Looks like this will take some work. But that’s okay. It’s all part of the adventure.
*For more about Tavi see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tavi_Gevinson
**The Channeled Scablands, one of the Seven Wonders of Washington State: http://www.sevenwondersofwashingtonstate.com/the-channeled-scablands.html
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