Monday, October 24, 2016
In the remote land of the Palouse ....
I'VE traveled most of the west, but until this out-of-the-way trip (October 2016), I'd never been to this area -- the Pullman, Washington and Lewiston, Moscow, Idaho region.
Sandwiched between Interstate highways that run far above (I-90) and far below (I-84), there are just two-lane roads that access this area, that I consider remote and isolated from mainstream travel.
The Pullman YMCA.
Yes, much of the center of Idaho is wilderness and lacks roads, but of the hard-surface road accessible portion, this is as remote as it gets here.
Spokane is more than an hour's drive north. Boise is more than 5 hours drive to the south.
It is also amazing that 2 major universities -- the University of Idaho in Moscow -- and Washington State University in Pullman -- are only about 8 miles apart -- and exist is towns about 30,000 each in population.
(IF you live in this area, it may not seem so remote, but excepting WSU and UI, there's little reason why you would go here ... It is a fairly nice area, lots of space and privacy ... )
The Kibbie Dome at the University of Idaho.
Another amazing factor here are the low elevations.
Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington are just across the Snake River from one another -- but they exist at an elevation of just 750 feet above sea level!
The Snake River from the Clarkston, Wa. side, looking to Lewiston.
Even Pullman, Wa., is only about 2,300 feet above sea level.
That may not sound impressive in eastern U.S. geography, but Boise, Idaho is only about 2,000 feet above sea level and much of southern Idaho is in the 4,000-plus foot range.
AND, in my home state of Utah, no town is lower than 2,800 feet above sea level (St. George).
A mountaintop view found north of Pullman.
Moss on a fence pole.
This is also the land of the Palouse.
And, leaving Lewiston to the north requires a steep drive up Lewiston Hill -- a 1,700-foot climb in 5 miles or so.
(Beware of low clouds here, creating foggy conditions at times on this crucial highway.
Peering down into Lewiston with low clouds around.
--Accessing Lewiston from Boise northward requires a long mountain drive -- including climbing the unforgettable White Bird summit, where vehicles rise 2,700 feet in just 7 miles -- with a speed limit of 55-65 mph.