June 6, 2015 by Rob
Steamboat Rock State Park is an oasis on Banks Lake in arid central Washington. Most of the visitors here are Seattleites that travel over the Cascades to bask in the sun and attempt to cram a year’s worth of vitamin D into one weekend.
We were really impressed with Banks Lake: the water is very clean and there is a lot of space for different user types. While some lakes seem to be dominated by people fishing or by groups out enjoying water sports, here we saw everything from kayaks to speed boats, and everyone seemed to have their own space and to respect one another. This was certainly a place I would like to come back and explore in a kayak.
We had a lot of fun exploring Steamboat Rock, and we had the opportunity to catch up with some people we know while taking photos. Most of this trip we’ve felt pretty cut off from our life back home, and even the interactions with the new people we have met have been brief because of the swift pace we’ve had to maintain. At Steamboat, I got to catch up with the Lead Ranger whom I use to work with, and we also got to spend the morning with our friend Joseph, who came down from Grand Coulee. He always has his fishing tackle in the back of the car, so we talked him into modeling for us.
After we finished at Steamboat, we found ourselves with another decision to make. We were going to try and photograph Sun Lakes today as well, but the heat is sapping our energy and after reviewing our footage for the Iron Horse Trail video, we feel like we need more diversity, so we’ll need to backtrack west to Cle Elum before heading back to Spokane. (The video component is something we haven’t shared a lot of yet, but we look forward to doing that soon. Of the 58 parks we’re capturing, we are filming 20 of them.) Ultimately we decided that for today it made the most sense to head for Cle Elum, get some video of the old train station, and then hit Sun Lakes in the morning and beat the heat. So we got an ice cream cone and hit the road.
We got some great images at the historic train depot and had an amazing dinner at Smokey’s Bar-B-Que. After dinner we headed east to Ellensburg and stayed the night at the KOA. We got one of the last sites available, which was next to the group camp where they were having a pretty big party. We were so tired, though, that we didn’t have any trouble sleeping through the noise from the Papst Blue Ribbon Gala next door.