Camping along the Columbia River and at Palouse Falls
This trip was unplanned. Casey, a friend I've made via Instagram, and I had planned to go camping over Memorial weekend, but we had to reschedule. Originally we were thinking Rainier National Park, but with the weather looking rainy, I suggested going over the pass to central and eastern Washington. And that was about it.
We said we'd leave around 6pm on Friday, and her friend Nicole decided to join too. We determined someone was bringing marshmallows, I was bringing my tent, and we might car camp. Or backpack. Actually no one knew. We just showed up.
Friday evening, Casey and Nicole picked me up and we headed east on I-90. The sun faded in the sky and erupted into a vivid sunset, complete with a view back on the Central Cascades and the endless grasslands rolling out in front of us. I thought we could camp along the Columbia River, somewhere near Mattawa, at a free campsite I found online. When we showed up, it was pitch black, our headlights only providing visibility a few feet off the road as the plains extended seemingly endlessly with little for the light to reflect off of. After a few back-and-forths past the location I thought the campsite should be, we ended up backtracking to Jackson Creek Fish Camp a few miles away. We set up the tent in the dark and a kind ranger passing through asked if we needed more light.
In the morning, we picked up gas station coffee and headed over to the White Bluffs in Hanford Reach National Monument. While we didn't reach the actual bluffs, the desolate landscape was still striking and we pulled over several times for extended walks.
Early in the afternoon, we set out further west through back roads to Palouse Falls in the southeast corner of Washington state. This is a place I've wanted to visit for the entire 3 years I've lived in Washington, and I was thrilled that we felt like tacking it on to this meandering road trip. When we arrived, the state park was packed, but luckily a hospitable group let us share their campsite in the corner of the small tree grove allotted for tents. We staked in the tent, better than I've ever done before, and set out to explore the falls and the Snake River oasis. Day-old sunscreen caked my face, and I couldn't tell if I had a Chaco tan or was just covered in dirt. Either way, it was a great weekend.
photographer & creative director