Over the top in Palouse

I have a thing for waterfalls.

Maybe it’s been since I stood on the viewing platform at Niagara Falls, wide-eyed in wonderment at the tons and tons and tons of water cascading … nay, pounding … into the pools below.

Lundbreck, Troll, Takkakaw, Athabasca … I hike to them. If I’m road-tripping and I see a sign, I stop for them.

That’s right. I brake for waterfalls.

Thus, when my friend John posted a video of some nut kayaking over a 198-foot plunge in Washington State, I knew I had to see it.

Tyler Bradt set the kayaking-over-a-waterfall record. I had no idea there was such a record.

The video may have made me queasy … me and my fear of heights … but it sparked my passion for exploring, one that’s been lying dormant for months.

Watching Bradt’s plunge over Palouse was no preparation for seeing the real thing. The Falls are the piece de resistance of Palouse Falls State Park in the southeastern corridor of the Evergreen State.

Translation: It’s a tourist trap.

We went on a rather hot day and the place was crawling with lookie-loos of all ages.

We ventured out onto the sand-covered scape, at first dodging the tourist-infested viewing area and saving the Falls for last. We peered over the cliffs and down to the rapids where folks were chilling in the cool water.

Poor Shep was in need of a dunk and we wondered how we could get down there.

When we realized it was by descending a path along the canyon wall, we opted for dumping bowl-fulls of water on his head.

Why drive all the way and not take the opportunity to head to the pools below?

Three reasons:

1. Fear of heights … as in mine
2. The area is rife with rattlesnakes … venomous rattlesnakes
3. Canyon walls that are descended must also be ascended

The trip was so so much worth it.

The 190-foot tumble of water is majestic. A constant rainbow forms in the mist created by the crashing water.

The coulees to the south end of the canyon are carpeted with blue lupines for miles and miles and miles.

With campsites and picnic areas, it may be worth another trip back.

A longer one.

I just have to work on that whole fear thing.

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