I spent the last 3 days at Steamboat Rock State Park, about 4 hours east and north of Seattle. It takes its name from a massive basalt rock that now rises 800 feet above Banks Lake; it was originally an island in the Columbia River bed. Banks Lake is a man-made 27-mile-long lake formed by the North Dam near Grand Coulee and the Dry Falls Dam near Coulee City. The landscape here is very different than what we are used to on the West side of the Cascades; when we first camped here last year it I couldn’t get over how much it looked like what I think the moon might look like. It seems very prehistoric. At first it looks like nothing but brown, but if you look closely at the cliffs in the right light all kinds of colors emerge. And at this time of year, there are wildflowers blooming in yellows, pinks and purples. And always the gray green of the sage brush.
Yes, the change of scenery and routine are big reasons for dragging out half the contents of my house four hours east for 3 days with friends. But also, there is this.