Over and through the Cascades. One of my favorite landscape transitions, like the Hope-Princeton #3 highway that travels through our own coast mountains and brings you to a whole new landscape and natural geographic zone. From wet rain forest – deep with lush undergrowth to a grassy, open terrain, tall straight pines and grey-blue sage brush isolated on the hillsides…with lovely long shadows. That is my favorite part.
We parted travelling company with our pals and they headed up to hwy #97 and their own eastern valley and over the northern border to Osooyos. We turned off the main route for a birding/sketching break – a loop road to Clear & Rimrock Lakes just past White Pass on Hwy 12. Some forest fires in the area there was a slight smoke haze quite a lot of helicopter and truck activity. Fabulous bluffs and towering rocky formations in this valley – and I had a great break at the lake to work in my Moleskine. Got the bug spray out and found a shady spot with my folding stool.
We headed from here out to the desert in search of wineries & craft beer. And a 90 degree day to boot. The volcanic formations that are the chain of mountains (Rim of Fire) from Southern California to Alaska create these ridges of basalt blocks and cliffs. I have seen them all over the world Whistler, Ireland, Tasmania & Haida Gwaii…but this was the best open area of formations I had ever seen. Brian & I are both interested in the geology of the places we visit – our trip through the Southwest US last year was amazing.
Staying tonight in Ellensburg – a great little historic location. nice galleries and cafes (once we finally found the visitor info center) not a good idea to always rely on the GPS ;-)
There was a wonderful arts center Gallery One that has restored a lovely building with arts-in-residence units, and fabulous gallery and shop on the main street. Only dream about a place like this for our area.
Great pizza at the Ellensburg Pasta Co. on Main st and then off to sample the local brew at the Iron Horse Brewery. They have a brew store on the main street – but also the brewery outlet down by the tracks – and it was just around the corner from our Best Western (nice new one with a lovely pool) Close to the tracks and highway – but actually quite quiet.