We’re off across the sagebrush desert of the Columbia Basin, near Quincy WA for a hike to the Ancient Lakes. At this time of year the waterfalls tumbling down the basalt cliffs can be all dried up, but I figured we have had so much rain this spring there’s gotta be something out there to see.
Well, there certainly was. Susan and I were traveling back from a week in Spokane and I wanted to break up that tedious 5-1/2 hour drive with a few miles of desert trekking. The weather was a bit overcast at times and the wind was screaming at 20-30 knots, the kind of wind that blows big trucks over, so I was more than ready to get off the highway for a while.
We started out on an old dirt track that wandered through the sagebrush in the general direction where I suspected the lakes were. There really wasn’t any trail markers or signs so we headed to the base of some giant basalt cliff walls.
Once we got down into the canyon a bit the force of the wind diminished a little and the sun tried to pop out.
Meadowlarks were singing and a beautiful male northern harrier was gliding in the gusts along the canyon walls.
We followed our initial track for a ways as it began to lead us away from where we thought we needed to go. Eventually we made the decision to abandon that route and backtrack a bit to a spur trail we’d passed earlier. This one turned out to be the correct route and soon the waterfall came into view.
Susan discovered that one of the Ancient Lakes was actually named for her…
From our vantage point above Susan Lake we could see two more sets of waterfalls several miles farther away and two more desert lakes… Those were gonna have to wait for another day.
We followed a wonderful little single track along the base of the cliffs all the way back to the car. And yep, the wind was still howling when we got back up on the ridge above the Columbia River.
That was just about it for this hike… That was just about it for the sunshine too. By the time we got to the east slopes of the Cascade mountains the rain was lashing the highway.
Thanks for following along with us on our travels.