On Tuesday, 9/3 we found out why the lake we stayed on was called Pillar Lake. Just a ½ mile hike up the hillside next to the lake is this lone hoodoo standing sentry over the lake. It had to be about 35 feet high on the uphill side and closer to 45 feet high when looking at it from the downhill side. The hoodoo was not visible from the road with only a small trail head sign marking the beginning of the trail head. We are glad we got curious about the trail and checked out what was up the mountain side. Neat!
We had a very pleasant drive south from Pillar Lake back into the United States. The south central area of British Columbia looks very much like northern Idaho. It is generally drier with lots of pine trees with some aspen and birch where the soil has more moisture. Coming south on BC Highway 97 is a lot like driving south along Lake Couer d’alene in northern Idaho. The whole area is built up in almost one continuous development for about 20-30 miles following the valley along Lake Okanagan. This area has some very high dollar homes along the lake. The lake area appears to be a destination for vacationers from the Vancouver area much as Bemidji is a destination for vacationers from the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
We entered back into the US at Midway, BC. This is a small border crossing town in eastern Washington north and west of Spokane. We had the most thorough border crossing inspection of the entire trip culminating with the border agent coming aboard and personally inspecting our refrigerator and freezer contents along with our dog and cat food. The agent told us she was concerned about country of origin for the items she inspected. Apparently there was no problem with what she saw since she quickly approved us to enter back into the US. As we drove south of the border we picked up a border agent patrol vehicle behind us. The agent followed along behind us for about twenty miles before turning away from our path of travel in a small town. We don’t know if boarding upon return into the US is normal or not, but I can say this for sure; Hilary definitely did not appreciate it!
We stopped for the night Colville National Forest at the Deer Creek Summit. The entire summit area had been burned last fall. We were surprised at all the life that was already springing up from the ashes. We took a hike along the summit trail capturing some great pictures along the way. The tiny tree frog was most unexpected!
Wednesday we continued south east with the goal of finding some place to stay while we get the fuel pump rebuilt. We checked out a Spokane county park near the town of Deer Park reported to be one of the best places to stay close to the city, but instead found it closed. We then headed to another county park on the west side of Spokane, but couldn’t justify the nightly cost of $40. The actual camping fee was $12 a night. However, one also had to purchase a daily pass for both the bus and Jeep along with a nightly parking pass for the Jeep. We called this strike two and moved on.
We finally ended our drive at a BLM property called Fish Trap Lake. We are camping on the BLM land in a dispersed camping mode. It is wonderfully quiet here in the desert area west of Spokane called the Channeled Scablands. It is a great spot to work from – finding a job, school work, etc.
The bus is the tiny white spot in the center of the picture below. This is what the channeled scab lands of Eastern Washington look like:
An old barn on the BLM land preserved for visitors to the BLM: There are even some short narrative signs about the people who lived on this land. You can see how dry the land is, yet people managed to scrape by a living even in these extreme conditions.
We will be here until at least Wednesday and possibly Thursday while we wait for the shop to get our fuel pump rebuilt.
- Tuesday, 9/6: 183 (Deer Creek Summit, WA)
- Wednesday, 9/7: 197 (Fish Trap BLM, Sprague, WA)