Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rock Creek, Escure Ranch BLM

Since moving to Spokane Erik and I have noticed that there are two things that people from Eastern Washington are proud of. The first is Gonzaga Basketball, and rightly so, we have caught the contagious Zag spirit too. The second are the ice age floods that formed the geologic features that cover central Washington known as the scablands. That's right, you cannot walk down the street around here without hearing people talk about Lake Missoula and one Coulee or another. Erik and I had to laugh to ourselves every time it came up. . . okay people, you had some big floods back in the day, congratulations. I really didn't understand what all the fuss was about. In fact the first time I drove through Central Washington I thought it was the ugliest place I had ever been in my life especially considering the green cascading beauty that the rest of this state is known for.

But since learning the geology that formed the area and exploring the scablands on a few hikes I have gained an appreciation for this apparent wasteland. There really is no other place on the planet like it. This geology is unique to the world and rightly so. What from I90 appears to be yellow-gray desert with nothing but sagebrush, has turned out to be a rolling countryside with basalt outcroppings forming cliffs, mesas, box canyons, and potholes. There are surprising rivers, lakes and waterfalls and tons of wildlife hiding back in this desert. Not only that, but when spring fever hits and the trails in the mountains near Spokane and northern Idaho are covered in snow, adventurous hikers can head west into the scablands to find slightly warmer temperatures and sunnier dry trails. It is a secret treasure you would never find just passing through traveling by car.

Lat week my hiking club was going down to Escure Ranch BLM area to hike. This is a neat area with some unique glacial flood formations. It was about an hour drive South from Cheney, I was on some crazy dirt roads through some wheat fields way out in the middle of nowhere. We hiked out about 5 miles on the ridge above Rock Creek. It was one of those hikes that looked kinda lame in pictures, but once there I was impressed with the gorgeous blue skies and sweeping vistas. I LOVE my hiking club. I have met so many wonderful people. The sun was shining, probably the sunniest day we have had this Spring. Two hikers brought dogs. Tate LOVES the dogs. She would violently lean from one side to the other in the backpack carrier to make sure she could always see the little dog over one of my shoulders. Several people in the club had ticks on them when we got home. AAAHHHH!! TICKS!!! I never had to worry about that in Utah, but they are pretty bad here in the Spring. I am terrified. I will gladly wear gators all year long if it means not getting a tick. So far I have not had the pleasure of pulling one out of my skin. Cross your fingers!

We have a few more hikes in the Scabs planned this Spring. It really is a neat area. I have a great appreciation for the uniqueness and beauty that is out there.

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