Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Discovering Eastern Washington

With near record snowpacks this spring throughout most of Western Washington, other than the fact that you'll need to take out a second mortgage to put gas in your tank--this is the perfect time to discover Eastern Washington. Don't be fooled into thinking there is nothing worth hiking east of the Cascades. Surely, if your cross Washington travels have consisted of nothing other than I-90 crossings, I can see how you hold onto this incorrect notion. But veer northeast and southeast and you'll find plenty of mountainous terrain-and trails-and surprises-and even a few wilderness areas. Heck, even on the Columbia Plateau in the channeled scablands north and south of boring I-90 you'll find delightful places to walk with nature. Between promoting my latest books and training for my first 50 Mile Trail Run, I am busy researching trails and wild places for my next book, Day Hiking Eastern Washington. I always love heading over the passes. I admire Eastern Washington's wide open spaces, incredible biological diversity, sunshine, and friendly people. So, bite the bullet and fill up the gas tank and head east of the mountains this spring. The sunshine alone is worth the effort. It will be some time before the snow melts in the Cascades. Meanwhile, there are lots of untrammeled trails awaiting your boots in the wild corners of Washington's big empty!

(Photo-Palouse Canyon, Palouse Falls State Park)

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