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Everybody knows the Palouse, Columbia Hills, Mount Rainier, Olympic Peninsula; but I'm betting there are few but the locals who are familiar with the Colockum Pass, the historical route from Wenatchee to Ellensburg, a wagon trail and cattle-driving route that lies to the west side of the Columbia River in Central Washington.
In a search for the road less traveled, I took a tour through some of the roughest, axle-busting lo-gear 4WD terrain this hiker/backpacker has ever encountered, with a guy who grew up pounding these roads and updating some four decades of adventures with detailed maps and other afflictions of OCD (GPS wasn't helpful). He took me to areas where I have never encountered such a profusion of wildflower species, many I've never seen before, amidst the unique settings of the area, comprised of features of the eastern Cascades mixed with those of the desert of eastern Washington. All of this thanks to the incredible force of the Missoula ice-dam floods that carved the Columbia basin scablands at the end of the last ice age (you know, waterfalls 10x the size of Niagara and all).
Before you decide to check this area out, you should know that a serious, lo-gear, high-clearance 4WD vehicle is required to navigate the best routes, no kidding (i.e, a Subaru won't do it). If you should break down, you are in big trouble. If it's raining/wet, you best avoid it unless you thrive on that kind of punishment and are equipped to deal with it.
A satisfying adventure resulting in a few images I'm posting here first. Sorry I didn't really go into the details around the shots, but I will if you ask.
Creation in the Colockum
The Right Direction
First Dawn in the Colockum