Loose on the Palouse

[av_image src=’http://ourgreatescape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Tree-800×533.jpg’ attachment=’5154′ attachment_size=’large’ align=’center’ styling=” hover=’av-hover-grow’ link=” target=” caption=” font_size=” appearance=” overlay_opacity=’0.4′ overlay_color=’#000000′ overlay_text_color=’#ffffff’ animation=’no-animation’][/av_image]

[av_heading tag=’h1′ padding=’10’ heading=’Loose on the Palouse’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
Some days, it feels like it’s still winter.

In April.

It’s cold.

It’s wet.

It’s windy.

We attempted an escape last Thursday. We got stopped by a snowstorm.

In April.

Gah.

(Hello to our Calgary readers, who — this very night — are expecting a fresh dump of the white stuff. It isn’t fair. I know.)

When the skies seemed to cloud over gloomily on Sunday but the temperatures rose high enough to avoid frozen precipitation, I knew it was a day I couldn’t pass up.

It came through in spades.
[/av_textblock]

[av_heading tag=’h2′ padding=’10’ heading=’Loose on the Palouse’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
Bella and I hauled ass for the Washington region called the Palouse. Our American was busy doing taxes. We knew we were on the loose.

Loose on the Palouse.

The origin of the name “Palouse” is unclear. One theory is that the name of the Palus tribe (spelled in early accounts variously as Palus, Palloatpallah, Pelusha, etc.) was converted by French-Canadian fur traders to the more familiar French word pelouse, meaning “land with short and thick grass” or “lawn.” Over time, the spelling changed to Palouse. Another theory is that the region’s name came from the French word and was later applied to its indigenous inhabitants. ~ Palouse, Wikipedia

Damn Canadians.
[/av_textblock]

[av_heading tag=’h3′ padding=’10’ heading=’Just a barn’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
Our first stop was a dirt road just south of Fairfield. We found this barn on a similar trip last year but, with new gear, I had to return.

palouse barn fairfield

Bella jumped out of the car, eager to explore and scare away the pigeons.

Maremma sheepdog Spokane

We tootled along, heading south and bound for Palouse, the town. The 27 is a twisty road, winding through farm country and slowing down through towns like Tekoa and Oakesdale that once were bustling centers in the early 1900s.

We stopped just south of Oakesdale when we found the John F. Kelley homestead.

That’s right. We happened upon history, and don’t I love it when that happens.

The barn was my first subject … shocking, I know.

Oakesdale barn

Bella tried her own version of an escape, trying to get through Eddie’s open window.

Maremma sheepdog

I knew I had to get her out of the car, so together we explored the entire property: the official Kelley cabin, the outbuildings, a “carport” with an old lorry still waiting for someone to turn the engine, and another, more modern home on the hill with its own set of outbuildings.

From An Illustrated History of Whitman County, State of Washington, I learn John F. Kelley hailed from New York state and made his way to the Palouse after a brief stop in California.

He arrived in Whitman County in 1872 to acquire as much land as he could and enter the stock business.

Written in 1901, the Illustrated History notes Kelley’s holdings included about 2,000 acres, most of which were farmland.

“At the present time he gives the major portion of his attention to wheat-raising, though he still handles some cattle and other live stock. Of course, Mr. Kelley does not attempt to handle his mammoth domain himself, but rents much of it to other parties. On his home place are many valuable improvements, among them a small orchard.”

The orchard is, of course, untended and overgrown by now. An explorer must be careful to dodge the brambles and keep an eye out for the occasional farming accoutrements scattered around the property.
[/av_textblock]

[av_masonry_gallery ids=’5142,5144,5143,5158,5149,5150,5151,5152,5148,5146′ items=’24’ columns=’flexible’ paginate=’pagination’ size=’flex’ gap=’large’ overlay_fx=’active’ container_links=’active’ id=” caption_elements=’none’ caption_styling=” caption_display=’always’ color=” custom_bg=”]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
Kelley was, by this account, heavily involved in his community, taking a “spirited interest” in local affairs and in politics, “zealously supporting the tenets of the Republican party, and assisting vigorously in the campaigns of that organization.”

No judgment. We know we live in different times. (Insert winky smiley face here)
[/av_textblock]

[av_heading tag=’h2′ padding=’10’ heading=’Stopped short’ color=” style=” custom_font=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ custom_class=”][/av_heading]

[av_textblock size=” font_color=” color=”]
When we left Spokane Valley that morning, we promised Our American we’d be home by mid afternoon. Thanks to past hiccups — blown tires in Alberta, missing deadlines in Harrington and getting lost in the Palouse (good grief, I didn’t tell you about that) — I need to check in and built trust for escapes.

I wanted to say 4 p.m. and stick to it.

We pulled off at Dry Creek Road and were bound for Steptoe Butte instead of trudging forth to Palouse. (There’s a spot I know of that I need to hit but it may be a few more weeks before it’s ready for picture fun time.)

Steptoe Butte is a must for any photographer on any given day, no matter the season.

And this is why:

steptoe butte palouse

Kinda beautiful, eh?

Until the next escape, be well!
[/av_textblock]

[av_comments_list]

3 comments

  1. So great to see you posting again! Fantastic photos. Always love your abandoned finds. And WOW, I am adding Steptoe Butte to my “must-visit” list. 🙂

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *