Sacajawea, Potholes, Wanapum, and Ginko Petrified Forest
May 17, 2015 by Megan
Day 3 was a delight in well-paved day use variety, which meant we were able to start the day with a new tool: the running stroller. Not only is it a ruggedly speedy carriage for Dane, but it also helps carry our stabilizers, which was super for Sacajawea State Park where we were again shooting photos and video.
Sacajawea State Park is a gem… it seems to have everything. As far as landscape, it is perched at the point of confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, featuring boat launch and docks, a small but state-of-the-art interpretive center, beaches, playgrounds, picnic areas, etc. And last but not least, it featured a random but awesome lion water fountain, which Dane LOVED.
Next, we were off to capture a cluster of three parks that share a very windy, very alluring desert terrain: Potholes State Park, Ginko Petrified Forest, and Wanapum Recreational Area. In Potholes, we have just enough of a history to know a bit more what we are looking for, but it still meant covering a lot of ground to get it.
I am starting to think of this project almost like a photo scavenger hunt, and with parks we aren’t as familiar with we have our wish list and it is ready-set-go capture! And craft what you can while staying on schedule. Some parks we are lucky and can talk with a ranger. Others aren’t as managed, with self-registration and a few signs to help guide. It is certainly an adventure.
Driving to Wanapum we found the wind gusts were even stronger, which anyone who has stretched their legs or explored near Vantage knows is fairly normal here… but WOW. New experience in the Winnie Warrior, and getting out to capture a quick image approaching the park I was getting bullied quite a bit.
The sun was getting more dramatic as it sank, and we really wanted to capture Ginko at sunset on the river, so I was literally running against the wind to capture this stop as quick as possible. The few campers that were witness probably thought I was a nutcase. Rob and Dane stayed in the RV.
And here is where things got interesting. As we raced to beat sunset we found that the map / address for Ginko Petrified Forest was incorrectly labeled in the State Parks Directory. We should have known better, as we’d driven past signs on previous trips pointing north of the bridge, but at the end of a long day you tend to trust your paperwork and your GPS. This proved to be a mistake, as it led us to a tight turnaround for the Winnie Warrior at the gate of a dam with lots of scary “Keep Out” / “Danger” signs. Rob likened it to the scene in Austin Powers where Powers tries to pull off a 20-point turn in a tight underground corridor. Just picture with an RV on a skinny access road, as the sun is slipping.
BUT we finally made it! And with the perfect golden light, we were able to capture some stunning images of the trails and the museum (two separate sites, if you plan to visit). Dane was a great sport, as we all ran like madmen in the wind, dashing to capture as many wish list images as I could before the sun sank for good.