Northwestern Rendezvous

Didn’t I promise to tell you about some exotic adventure in my previous entry? Hopefully, my narration/description will live up to your expectations – if not, take a tour of these places and you can feel it yourself. BTW, I am looking for a way to generate a map of the route that was followed in this trip – if any of you know a decent way of getting it done, please do let me know.

City of Spokane

Even with approximately 200,000 population, this city has the small town feeling and ASCS workshop (both accommodation and workshop) was in downtown – in an area designated as the Spokane’s Art District. Plenty of options for passionate food lovers and a wide variety of opportunities to spend any spare time makes this a nice little town to live in. As usual – before and after the workshop hours – I roamed around a bit in downtown and my favorite place here was the river-front park: quite many variety of birds (predominantly ducks) show up and so do kind-hearted people who come to feed them on a regular basis.

Aerial View of Spokane

Aerial view of Spokane’s wheat fields

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Sunday morning dew drops (or sprinkled water), near river front park, downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Birds (and their feeders) in river front park, downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane

More downtown attractions

BTW, if you didn’t know (I didn’t), this is the hometown of Gonzaga University – made nationwide famous by Adam Morrison & Co. during last NCAA Basketball season.

Manito Park, Spokane

In my personal opinion, this 90+ acre primary garden showplace located on the south side is probably the most under-advertised entity of Spokane (I am quite sure not many participants of ASCS were aware of its existence). Originally called Montrose Park, its name was changed in early 1900s to Manito Park (Manito meaning Spirit or Spirit of Nature in the Algonquin Indian language). For many years, its main attractions were exhibition gardens and a small zoo, but a conservatory was added in 1912 followed by a Sunken Garden a year later. What’s so special about this place, you ask? To keep the description short, it houses the following: Duncan Garden, Gaiser Conservatory, Perennial Garden, Rose Hill, Nishinomiya Japanese Garden, Lilac Garden, Duck Pond, Loop Drive/Bridge, apart from a picnic shelter. As one can imagine, there are tons and tons of flowers and other plant varieties and /me personally thinks that the Rose Garden is the crown of Manito Park. With over hundred species of roses (and well sought-after wedding location), this is an All America Rose Selections display garden. Following are some of the pics that I shot in this park (rest are in the gallery).

Manito Park, Spokane

Duck Pond Entrance

Manito Park, Spokane

Manito Park, Spokane

Manito Park, Spokane

Manito Park, Spokane

Manito Park, Spokane

In & around Rose Hill

Manito Park, Spokane

Duncan Garden

Manito Park, Spokane

Duncan Garden Bench

While roaming around in Gaiser Conservatory, I ran into an elderly lady speaking Kannada – I must say, the amount of Kannada I spoke here in Spokane was much more than I ever did in Bangalore with any given stranger at any given time. Had I known before that this place was only few steps away from heaven, we (Wil and myself) probably would have planned to spend much longer. Definitely, this is a must not miss place for anybody who visits this part of the universe and hopefully, /me will get a second chance to shoot more…

From Farmland To A Snow Capped Mountain…

Instead of originally planned four state road trip (which would have meant that we would have been literally on the road for much of the time), Wil planned to do the bi-state tour – of Washington and Oregon – the drive taking us through some of the breathtakingly beautiful gorges, valleys and such. After our short but memorable visit to Manito Park, we headed west (I-90) towards Yakima. Much of the drive prior to Moses Lake, either side of road had farm-lands as far as eyesight could take… wheat fields and such. In spite of knowing that we were driving in Columbia Plateau, little did we realize that a huge water body in the adjacent gorge was actually Columbia River! Route that was followed is depicted below (map taken from Google! Maps and later edited by hand with GIMP):

Northwest Road Map

Our Road Map (click for full sized view)

Columbia Plateau, WA

Driving along I-90 towards Moses Lake/Ellensberg, in Columbia River Plateau

Columbia River, WA

Columbia River, WA

Columbia River, in the gorge

Few more miles later, the view starts to change quite drastically – from plain farm-lands to hills in almost every direction. These, so called, foot hills of Cascade Range make our Brockway Mountain look like a tiny pimple. Driving towards and through them, we reached Yakima (46.73, -120.22) – our place of rest. Learning some (very very) useful tips from Wil about getting cheaper rates for accommodation will definitely make my further such stays quite economical. A Horse With No Name kept re-appearing few times, keeping us good company throughout our drives… Here’s the lyrics, if you wish:

A Horse With No Name by Dewey Bunnell, 1971

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound

I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

After two days in the desert sun
My skin began to turn red
After three days in the desert fun
I was looking at a river bed
And the story it told of a river that flowed
Made me sad to think it was dead

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

After nine days I let the horse run free
‘Cause the desert had turned to sea
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
there was sand and hills and rings
The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love

You see I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name
It felt good to be out of the rain
In the desert you can remember your name
‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain
La, la …

Nice one, isn’t it? Hear it on radio (or online), it sounds even better 🙂

Foothills of Cascade Range

Foothills of Cascade Range

Foothills of Cascade Range

Foothills of Cascade Range

Semi-aerial view of Cascade Range Foothills

Our drive next day, towards Mount Rainier, reminded me of my poor vocabulary to explain what I saw 🙁 Anyways, here are more pictures and they do a better talking than I do. Mount Rainier, basically half-a-mount-Everest in height, is the tallest peak in the Cascade Range and offers postcard-like views more than once…

Towards Mt. Rainier

Light at the end of ….

Towards Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier, from a distance

Towards Mt. Rainier

Steven’s Canyon Entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park

Towards Mt. Rainier

Hands weren’t shaking – intentional panning

Towards Mt. Rainier

Hint of Fall colors…

Towards Mt. Rainier

Another view of Mt. Rainier, still from a distance…

With given time constraint and plan, we hiked for about 3 hours (approximately 2 miles each way, at nearly 45 degree inclination) to a place called Panorama Point (approximately 6500+ feet above sea level) and as the name suggests, this place offers nice panoramic view of surroundings – including Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens – with Mt. Rainier in the background. While hiking up, we did hear a mighty rumble… On a clear blue sky day, in the vicinity of a glacier filled mountain – you probably can guess what it was. Fortunately (from a living point of view) and unfortunately (from a photographic point of view), whatever happened happened so on the other side of the peak…

Towards Mt. Rainier

Hiking up to Panorama Point in Mt. Rainier

Towards Mt. Rainier

Some folks, who probably hadn’t seen snow before, playing around in a glacier-remnant…

As we hiked down, we did see some (milder form of) wild life too – mother-kid pair of deers 🙂 apart from some form of rodent and few birds…

Wild Life in Mt. Rainier

Kid deer following its mom

From A Snow Capped Mountain To An Active Volcano…

A relatively shorter, but longer seeming drive later, we were at Mt. St. Helens by Sunset – again, we were within striking distance from it, if it had decided to strike… Needless to remind you that I am short of words to explain… 🙁

Towards Mt. St. Helens

One of the many long bridges on the way to Mt. St. Helens

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams (snow capped) around Sunset

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

Closer look at Mt. St. Helen’s Crater – northern portion that broke open in 1980

Completing The Loop…

While in Oregon, I missed the opportunity to shoot Mt. Hood, one that appears in the logo of this company – well, I did not miss it but I have put it on those places that don’t need a photograph to remember list 😀 After finishing the intended work in Lake Oswego (about 10 miles from Portland, OR), we headed back to Spokane – driving through the Columbia River valley (actually, right next to the river for much of the way) and seeing some historic entities – Bonneville Dam and such, and more trains than I have seen in a looooong time… reaching Spokane much after the Sun had finished day’s business. Thanks to Wil, I didn’t have to drive but for some book-keeping purposes (a personal book-keeping – to boast off that I have driven in Washington, and from Oregon to Washington, lol), giving me ample opportunities to shoot away anything/everything I saw (he helped me carry much of my equipment too)…

Returning to Spokane

One of the few tunnels in I-84, along Columbia river in Oregon

Returning to Spokane

Driving on I-84, along Columbia river in Oregon

Returning to Spokane

Goods Carrier… some were powered/pulled by as many as six engines!

Back To U P Michigan

Considering that I had just returned from India and my body was undergoing a 9+ hours time difference, I almost didn’t want to make this trip. Bur re-considering the facts that /me got bumped twice in Minneapolis on my way to Spokane (and a free upgrade to First Class, along with vouchers for two more travels), and having witnessed all that I got to see, /me thinks it was a good decision to put my body through 3 more hours of time difference. Personally, it would have been really sad if NWA was in need of volunteers to stay back during return journey. I had quite a bit of unfinished work and moreover, feeling of home sickness had started to creep in – it had been nearly 7 weeks that I was away from Houghton… Fortunately, all flights were decently booked and /me reached town around Tuesday mid-night. Thanks to cool dudes (Santosh and Rajiv), I got a ride from the airport to the apartment – needless to mention, after a cup of Chai at their place.

My body is accustomed to some unknown time zone, but there are few things that come close to the feeling of sitting at home, in front of your favorite, ever-loyal desktop, and such…. Life’s good and ready to finish some pending work & move on to some new ones…

4 Replies to “Northwestern Rendezvous”

  1. Abba!! Breathtaking!! Fabulous kano!!Ur photography is amazing! poor vocabulary here too. No wonder!!Nin pics ashtu chennagide. You can never explain Nature. Seeing is believing. Seeing is experiencing!!Thax a lot for that lovely experience you have given us. All the best . Looking forward to more!!

  2. More than any other pic.. I liked the tunturu hanis sitting on the hullu-garke..a photo kalso nanage.. will make it my desktop – with thy kind permission that is..awesome pictures antha keli keli ninna kivi toothagidhe gothu.. naan heli bore hodsalla..ever thought of entering some photography competitions?

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