With Chief Joseph Dam at my back, this view looks over the Columbia River as it flows past the small town of Bridgeport, Washington...where SPIA and I spent last night.
Walking around town, I was somewhat surprised to find that nearly all residents are Mexican.
We have entered the Apple Region of the State of Washington. Along the Columbia River for more than 100 miles, the banks are covered - both sides of the river - with millions upon millions of apple trees...not only apple, but also cherries, apricots, prunes, pears, peaches, and more.
Trees require TLC and lots of hand labor. The Mexican immigrants find work here and add a positive element to society.
From the Columbia River, I walked BACK toward Grand Coulee Dam, picking up the miles we drove to reach Chief Joseph Dam.
The Columbia River flows through a deep canyon. Between canyons of the Coulees, the land lies high above - perhaps 1,000 feet or more - on the plateau of the Columbia Basin.
The climb out of the Columbia River Valley is up up and more up for many miles.
This morning, we climbed to reach the plateau...then back down to SPIA.
Along the way, Washington State Patrol Officer "Lex" stopped to check if this old man needed any assistance.
Chatting for a few minutes - my Uncle Warren was once a WSP Officer - Lex informed me that on Route 2 back at the North Dakota / Montana border a day or so ago, a "walker" (just like you, says Lex), was sitting on the roadside eating his lunch; up pulls a pickup truck; "walker" stands to chat; and is promptly shot by the pickup driver (not killed).
Officer Lex agreed my decision to avoid walking by way of Minot, North Dakota was an good decision.
Wheat fields are found even on the steep slopes of the canyons.
I speak of SAGEBRUSH...here is a ravine full of sagebrush...very aromatic and easy on the eyes.
From a few miles UP the canyon road, a look back is also spectacular.
There is an old Cowboy song...TUMBLIN' TUMBLE WEEDS...
Here we have a collection of Tumble Weeds blown by the wind into the ditch along side a small hill.
On my way back DOWN to the Columbia River, I come across the above welcoming sign.
I then walked West, crossing the Bridge below Chief Joseph Dam.
The white tower is a large electric fan. It rises above the precious apple orchards, blowing air across the tops of the trees to keep moisture from freezing on cold nights...a quick way to lose an orchard full of ripening fruit.
One thing I have not mentioned. In the Desert, temperatures can and do rise to 120 F. during the daytime. That same spot just before daylight -i.e., at night - can be bitter cold, often reaching well below freezing temperatures - water freezes at 32 F (also at ZERO centigrade).
Walking back for SPIA, we drove down the Columbia River, to the town of Brewster, Washington.
Apple orchards fill the Okanogan Valley, through which we drove.
Apple Boxes are stacked by the thousands, ready for the pickers - apples are hand picked -, who at this time of year are busy "thinning" out the trees, removing smaller maturing apples and apples growing in a cluster. By thinning the less desirable apples, the tree puts all it's energies into the remaining apples, resulting in larger better quality apples at picking time.
We parked SPIA in Brewster while I walked BACK toward Bridgeport / Chief Joseph Dam to recover the few miles we drove across Okanogan Valley.
The Columbia River's Lake Wells, lying behind Wells Dam, about 20 miles downstream. At this point, the Okanogan River and the Methow River flow into the Columbia.
This little fellow is a maturing RED DELICIOUS APPLE.
Sometimes they grow in clusters - much like cherries -. The less desirable specimens are removed, leaving the most robust wee apples to mature.
Pickers - mostly Mexican - hard at work "thinning" the apple tree.
These little Red Houses are also found here and there throughout the fruit orchards.
They are "insect traps". Farmers want to know what / who is buzzing around their trees. This way, proper pesticides can be Incorporated into the farming process to achieve the best quality and quantity fruit.
From Brewester, we drove to the small river-side village of Pateros, Washington, where SPIA found a spot next to the City Park, looking out onto the blue Columbia.
Pateros takes advantage of their waterfront by allowing RV parking at a fee of $15.00 per night.
The most challenging task during my walk has been to find suitable overnight parking. Towns such as Pateros make that task a pleasurable one.
Historical Note: My Mother's family - Tuttle - settled in Brewster and Pateros, some having traveled by Wagon Train over the Oregon Trail (which I walked two years ago) I checked in at the Pateros Museum, but they had no information about previous residents.
SPIA's view from Pateros.
I then walked BACK towards Brewster, only 6 miles distant.
Yes, other things beside fruit grow along the banks of the Columbia.
The Residential area of Pateros. The water is actually the Methow River, which I will begin walking at early morning light tomorrow - June 15, 2012.
I decided to treat myself to a real sit-down dinner in Pateros.
This is the view from my dining table...the spot where the Methow flows into the Columbia.
Wells Dam is around that far corner, about 10 miles distant.
US Highway 97 borders the Columbia...US 97 actually reaches far into Canada and extends to SHASTA MOUNTAIN, an active volcano in California. I have driven US 97 since 1952...one of my favorite scenic routes in America.
In the morning, I will leave SPIA to enjoy her vista while I walk on Highway 153 up the Methow River toward the town of Twisp, some 30 miles distant, where we will pick up Highway 20, which will carry us over the incredibly beautiful - and incredibly steep - North Cascade Pass. We will then take Highway 9 North to the town of Lynden, Washington, hanging a Left for the final 12 miles to the Peace Arch in Blaine, Washington .
After that, the Gods have not allowed me to see ...