Spring break road trip - Palouse, Stonehenge, Skamania, Ape Caves15 Apr 2018
While most other families were sensibly sitting on a warm beach in Hawaii, I took my daughters on a road trip across Washington State for spring break 2018 to see some amazing sights right here in our back yard. We did a little camping, some hiking, scrambling, caving, ziplining, and treated ourselves to a lodge stay for a couple nights. If you're looking for a fun route to try sometime, this is a good 5 day trip.
First stop was Palouse Falls State Park in Eastern Washington, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The weather was perfect for the 4.5 hour drive.
Palouse Falls was raging, that's my daughter standing in the top left, about 400 feet above the canyon floor.
Looking the other way, the canyon winds its way toward the Snake River. This canyon was formed practically overnight by cataclysmic floods at the end of the last ice age around 12-15,000 years ago.
We stayed the night in the State Park then hiked down to the top of the waterfall the next day before headed back out toward Maryhill State Park to see the Stonehenge replica. The shot below is from the backside of the canyon, where we hiked along the river leading to the top of the waterfall.
We arrived at the Stonehenge replica in Maryhill in the early afternoon and had the whole place to ourselves, so what did we do but play hide and seek of course.
Here's a look at the Stonehenge replica under the milk way during a new moon, a shot I grabbed a few months earlier.
Our camp site at Maryhill State Park was pretty sweet, this time of year there's nobody around so it's easy pickins, waterfront and all.
Afterwards we took off to go scrambling up Horse Thief Butte, on the way to Skamania lodge and the Ape Caves.
It was a lot of fun scrambling through the butte, we got to the top in no time, maybe 20 minutes, and had the whole place to ourselves.
Then it was on to Skamania Lodge, for some tree-top adventure climbing and zip lining.
And on one of the off days, we took a short trip across the Columbia river to check out some of the Oregon waterfalls right off the road.
Finally we took off toward Mt. St. Helens and the Ape Caves. The road was totally empty and pretty gorgeous.
It was our first time at the Ape Caves, some thousands-year old lava tubes that stretch for a couple miles. There are tons of lava tubes in the area but these are accessible and traveled. Apparently you're supposed to enter them from the bottom, but we missed that memo and entered them from the top. This meant we had to walk down-grade instead of up, which was a little more challenging.
Definitely need layers and good flashlights for the caves, it gets a little chilly and it's super dark. Wet in places too, we had rain jackets on luckily.
Overall it was a fun and memorable trip, something to do in about 5-7 days and this was a good time of year to do it to avoid the crowds.