Sunday, May 2 – We made pretty short work of the move to Moscow – it’s only 30 miles away after all. After a brief stop in the town of Pullman to dump the holding tanks at the county waste management’s free dump, we pulled into the Roberson Community county park in Moscow. This little gem has just 5 RV spots (two of which were taken by longterm campers) but they all have electric ,and water is available nearby. At only $5 per night with the senior pass, it’s a great deal. It is beginning to warm up now and the coming few days are supposed to get pretty hot. Right now it’s pretty perfect with temps in the 70’s and light, cool breezes. It was mid-afternoon by the time we were settled, so we just relaxed and got together with D & D later for drinks.
Monday, May 3 – This morning I wanted to check out the area, so we got going early, maps in hand, for an extended morning drive around. We are pretty close to the Moscow mountains and the terrain is decidedly different. The restlessly rolling hills of the Palouse in Washington have given way to more gentle flatter hillsides. It is still very pretty, but more difficult to isolate interesting compositions. We first drove toward the mountains, but soon found dead ends or drove into forests at each road we took. The more open roads seemed to stay in the hollows of the hills which made getting good vantage points difficult. The skies were not cooperating much either. They remained very clear and cloudless until well into the afternoon. By then we were back in camp, tired from the long drive. It’s nice here, but photographically disappointing. Back in camp we got together with our travel friends again for a nice outdoor dinner. It’s the first time in almost 2 weeks we’ve been able to do this. Either it’s been too cold or windy or we didn’t have tables. It’s all come together here for some nice outdoor dining.
Tuesday, May 4 – Don and Dorothy had gone on their own trek yesterday and found much the same as we did. Today we decided to join forces and scope out some new areas south of us to see it it was any better. We chose a sort of loop drive which took us south and along the Snake River before heading back north again. It is warmer today with lighter breezes and fewer clouds. We descended down around 2000′ to the Snake from up in the hills. What a difference. The Snake is very wide and flat along the stretch we drove. It is pretty well setup for boaters, with several boat ramps, mini marina’s and plenty of decent dry camping along the side of the road. It was much warmer as well – too warm for my liking. Not very photogenic either so no photographs here.
On this day the road was very deserted – a little surprising given the time of year. I guess it will soon be pretty busy with vacationers, but for now we had it almost to ourselves. Nice to know about this area, but it really isn’t our thing, so we found a road out and back up to the hills as soon as we could. Soon we were back amongst the rolling hills and puffy clouds. We passed through the small town of Colton, ID and Mary navigated us to the Ferdinand Creamery in Pullman on the Washington State University campus (home of the Cougers), for a welcome ice cream respite. Yes, it was named after the bull – go figure. We were home soon after that and got together at our LD for drinks and dinner. However, the mosquitos seem to have hatched here by the lovely little creek that runs through the campground and we spent the evening swatting bugs off ourselves until we broke out the deet.
Wednesday, May 5 – This morning became a chore day for all of us. laundry, shopping and general errands needed doing. Don & Dorothy decided to take Koko (their LD) into town so they could hang out in there instead of the hot laundry. Mary decided to tag along with them, while I stayed in camp to catch up on my blogging. They were back in just a few hours, which gave me time to blog, read, and nap. We lounged around for a couple more hours before we split-up for early dinner.
Mary and I wanted to trek out to Kamiak Butte to catch the evening light from another high vantage point. Kamiak is a small state park and the peak is just a bit higher than Steptoe, but is largely covered with tall trees. The more dramatic views are from Steptoe, but Kamiak is certainly worth an evening. There is also a little hiking – something we haven’t been able to do our whole stay here. This is virtually all privately owned land and public access is restricted to the many roads that run through the fields, so it was nice to be able to walk about a bit.
The park was only around 20 miles from our Moscow campground, so we got there pretty quickly. There is a 3.5 mile loop trail that climbs up via several steep switchbacks, then climbs slowly along the main ridge just at the tree line. Having never walked this trail, we didn’t know which way would be better to go. As we pondered the map, a german fellow came by and asked if this was our first time here. He went on to describe the trail in some detail and from that we were able to determine the best way to go. He was spot on. Once we got up the switchbacks, we had some really great views. Trees did obscure the views all along the trail, but there were enough open spots to where we could effectively point our camera’s to get good shots. And the direction he suggested allowed us to get to the top just when the light was at it’s best. After circling around, the trail dropped steeply back down the butte and into dense forest. There were virtually no views along this stretch so we just hiked quickly back to the car.
We still had about 45 minutes of sun before it set, so instead of just heading home, we took off on some other nearby backroads and took a few more shots. It was getting pretty dim by now – high thick clouds had obscured the sun, but we did discover another road or two we will investigate further. We didn’t get back to camp until 9:30 PM. But since sunset isn’t until 8:45 right now, that wasn’t too bad. Tomorrow we head back to Colfax and the Empire-Palouse Fairgrounds. We feel like this is the best place to be based and want to spend a few more day there before leaving the area for good.