A comprehensive guide to a state that is difficult to comprehend -- with the Pacific Ocean and a temperate rain forest in the west, and dry sagebrush steppes in the east, and with tall snow-capped peaks, large rivers, lakes, and an active volcano in between. Plus bustling cities, with world-class museums and theaters. Read about the sheltered saltwater inlets which make for great sailing or visit wildlife refuges teeming with birds, beavers, raccoons, and otters. And don't be surprised if you see hummingbirds west of the Cascade Mountains in mid-winter the climate is that mild.
John gives an overview of the book:
This is eastern Washington, a wide-open, big-sky country. Fields of dryland wheat stretch from coulee to coulee. Now and then the bucolic landscape bristles with wild, brushy creek beds and with the water towers, grain silos, and clumps of trees around the region's isolated farms, villages, and towns. Hawks and eagles circle overhead, the cry of the curlew and the trill of meadowlarks drift over the sea of grain and bunchgrass, and the creek bottoms are filled with the songs of sparrows, buntings, and warblers.
Eastern Washington is bisected by the Grand Coulee, an ancient flood channel stretching from Grand Coulee Dam at the northern edge of the plateau south to Soap Lake. Its towering basalt cliffs shield a string of natural and artificial lakes, whose marshes are home to beavers and muskrats, rabbits and otters, ducks, geese, and great blue herons. Deer rest in the moist dells; coyotes and bobcats skulk through the dry brush of the uplands. In spring and early summer the land not tamed by agriculture is blanketed with wildflowers. West of Spokane, the hills become higher and the wheat fields flow into meadows studded with pine trees. Beyond the broad valley of Crab Creek lie the softly contoured slopes of the Palouse Hills.
The main artery to and through eastern Washington is I-90, but to see the region at its best, approach via U.S. 2 from Leavenworth. Wending through orchards, the highway follows the Wenatchee River to the city of Wenatchee and crosses the Columbia River. It then runs up the Columbia for a stretch before climbing a bluff and passing through a dramatic gap to emerge in the wheat fields of the Waterville Plateau, a sweeping countryside of seemingly unlimited vistas. But you're in for a surprise. The highway suddenly drops down into Moses Coulee, a straight-walled canyon with 1,000-ft-high walls. In spring and early summer, the level coulee floor is awash with the reds, purples, and yellows of wildflowers. Then road rises back to the top, where you soon come to the Grand Coulee, which isn't as deep as Moses Coulee to the west but is a lot broader.
From Dry Falls Junction (look for the very conspicuous yellow-headed blackbirds in the marsh here), take WA 17 south to Dry Falls and Sun Lakes State Park. Or continue east on U.S. 2 and, after crossing the low dam that holds Banks Lake in place, take WA 155 from Coulee City north along the lake for one of Washington's most beautiful drives. At the top of the lake is Grand Coulee Dam, a genuine technological wonder. The aptly named Electric City, near the dam and Coulee City to the south serve as launching points for recreational activities on and around the 151-mile-long Lake Roosevelt, the lake backed up behind Coulee Dam.
Author: Eating Well: A Guide to Foods of the Pacific Northwest, 1984; The Eating Well Cookbook, 1984; Shellfish Cookery: Absolutely Delicious Recipes from the West Coast, 1985; Pacific Northwest Wine Country, 2001; Washington: A Compass...