Frenchman Coulee

Steel Stallion

Steel Stallion

Ok, I’m getting to the Frenchman Coulee hike, but first check out a few photos from the Wild Horses Monument.  These stunning steel stallions were placed high on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River in 1989 as part of the Washington State centennial celebration.  Since then thousands of people passing below on I-90 have looked up and been surprised by the herd of wild mustangs galloping along the ridge top.

Wild Horses on the Ridge

Wild Horses on the Ridge

Silhouettes galloping across the sky

Silhouettes galloping across the sky

Overlooking the Columbia

Overlooking the Columbia

After scrambling around with the horses for a while we headed up river a few miles to an area know as Frenchman Coulee.  A sagebrush scrubland of giant basalt columns, sand dunes, desert wildflowers and a wonderful plunging waterfall.  Note: if you travel here in the heat of summer you’ll still have sagebrush and basalt columns but the wildflowers and water will be a just distant memory.

Local map

Local map

Our hike was gonna be about 4-5 miles round trip, with a very minimal 200 feet of elevation gain.

Walking the Coulee

Walking the Coulee

Wildflowers everywhere

Wildflowers everywhere

Looking back

Looking back

Below the falls

Below the falls

Well, we picked a beautiful day for a desert hike.  The temperature stayed about 60 degree F, and wind never got to more than a gentle breeze.  If you check out the picture above and follow the two dark basalt ridges in the distance… we started at the far end of the second ridge. That’s one of the things I like about desert hiking.  Views that go on and on for miles.

So if you wondering if there was going to be a video at the end of this story.  Well, here you go:

That background music was Mustang Sally, from the movie The Commitments, and Friend of the Devil, by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman.

See you later

See you later

So following that little adventure we were back home for about 17 hours and then off on another camping trip with the Dudes. Stay tuned..

Kat

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About Jeff Katzer

Welcome friends. I'm a cyclist, hiker, motorbike rider, kayaker, photographer, videographer, ukulele player, snowshoer, XC skier, and BEST of all - a grandpa. Somewhere in that list above you'll find the theme of the Adventure Journal.
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4 Responses to Frenchman Coulee

  1. Bruce Bosman says:

    That area look inviting as I look out at the wet NW weather. As of the mid 1990s there were still wild horse herds roaming the hills on the west side of Vantage. When we were on helo patrol we would see them occasionally. Great story, photos, and video. Thanks

  2. Nice write-up, Jeff. Especially enjoyed seeing the photos and video of the horses. Brings back a great memory,
    I climbed that hillside with some heavy (now ancient) TV gear back when the first few horses were erected. While I don’t recall the exact number, only 2 to 4 horses were initially placed on that site. I recall holding the news release which stated that the additional horses would be added to the site at a later date.
    On that day I hiked-up that hillside and arrived at the site (as I recall, I didn’t realize that a road was available that could saved me from the hike that day), I interviewed two people about this impressive artwork suddenly overlooking Vantage and the Columbia River.
    One interview was with the state’s First Lady at that time, Jean Gardner. The other interview was with the artist, David Govedare.
    As I recall, Govedare explained that the horses were symbolically emerging from a Cornucopia that represented the abundance provided by Mother Earth. I could be wrong on that point, but that’s what my memory tells me I was told nearly a quarter century ago.
    The interviews and b-roll I shot that day were featured in a report I produced for KIMA-TV in Yakima. I’ve long suspected that I still have that story on an old VHS tape. And for that reason, I contacted Mr. Govedare a year or two ago, wondering if he’d like a copy if I was able to find the video.
    Mr. Govedare was very polite. He shared that he thinks he has videos from the news coverage those many years ago. Still, he indicated that if I was able to locate my video, he’d certainly like a copy just in case he didn’t have it.
    I checked a bunch of old tapes here at home, but didn’t find the video. Doesn’t mean I don’t have it in yet another box buried in storage. I still hope to find it.
    Lastly, nice touch on your video with the Mustang Sally tune from The Commitments. That movie and that tune have long-been a family favorite.

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