A slower, and faster, run back downriver

Pelouse Falls

We ran downriver at a more leisurely pace than the upriver run, stopping earlier in the day to explore by dinghy, on foot and on our bicycles. A highlight of this leg was a 10-mile return, 1,160-foot altitude gain bike ride to Palouse Falls.

While the pace was slower, our speed wasn’t. We got a several-knot push from the current, and hit a record-breaking speed–well for our 9.5-knot boat anyway–of 14.6 knots.

Here’s our log from the Idaho border at Clarkston to Orchard Cove. You also can display these on the map view.

4/29/12: Dawn
4/29/12: Castle Rock
Aptly-named Castle Rock–it does look like a castle.
4/29/12: Green light
Green light to enter Lower Granite lock.
4/29/12: Debris
Debris clogged the lock entrance–we had to just push through it. A tugboat captain that had just locked through warned us of the debris and hoped we had a spare wheel.
4/29/12: Bow imprint
A pile of the debris bound up and we bulldozed it halfway through the locks. This is the imprint our bow left when we backed away.
4/29/12: Lockmaster
The lockmaster said we could take the debris with us if we wanted.
4/29/12: Close to the gates
We were going to take the second bitt from the west end, but it was out for service. The front bit felt pretty close to the gate as it opened.
4/29/12: Current
Nice to have that current with us for a change.
4/29/12: Smokin’
We ran wide open to see how fast we could go. We briefly hit 14.6 knots, but only captured 14.3 on the screenshot.
4/29/12, 9:19am: Snake River Mile 107
Just returned through the Lower Granite locks.
4/29/12, 11:40: Port of Garfield
Anchored for the night–we’re taking it a little easier on the return run. Port Garfield was an excellent stop. A highway runs along the north shore, but we didn’t find the traffic noise bothersome. The Port of Garfield grain elevators are at the head, with a small boat launch adjacent. We enjoyed watching the boats traffic to and from the ramp. The lands on the south shore are public (Army Corps of Engineers)–we landed at the boat launch and walked up to the hills for lunch.
4/29/12: SR 127 bridge
Looking north across the Snake River to the SR 127 bridge, with the Port of Central Ferry in the background.
4/29/12: Meadow Creek
Family out for a Sunday afternoon on the estuary at Meadow Creek.
4/29/12: Port of Central Ferry
Pipes and pumps at a chemical-loading facility in the Port of Central Ferry.
4/29/12: Central Ferry State Park
Landing in the east basin of the now-closed Central Ferry State Park. We sounded about 3′ through the entrance here, and about 1.5′ through the west basin.
4/29/12: Beach
View to the SR 127 bridge from the park beach. The park had good facilities in a beautiful setting–too bad it’s closed.
4/29/12: Dinner in the cockpit
Moroccan-Spiced Brochettes with Rosemary Oil for dinner in the cockpit.
4/30/12, 8:20am: Little Goose dam
Gate coming up at Little Goose dam.
4/30/12: Fender
The rear ball fender getting a workout as the water level falls.
4/30/12: Gate opening
4/30/12: Fender scrub
Giving the fenders a quick scrub after the locking. They come pretty clean dragging in the water, but some dirt remains that might mark the gelcoat the next time we use them.
4/30/12, 10:15am: Palouse River
Anchoring for the night to bike to Pelouse Falls. This is the view to the north from the anchorage, up the Palouse River.
4/30/12: Bike transport
We keep our bikes on the flybridge, and normally would hand them down to the cockpit over the boat deck rail. But the eyebrow bimini blocks that, so we needed a different system. Loading them into the dingy and bringing them down together solved the problem.
4/30/12: Lowering dinghy/bikes
4/30/12: Ready to go
We tied the dinghy off on the boat launch at the Lyons Ferry park. Depths were in the low single-digits on the way into the basin, but not a problem for the dinghy.
4/30/12: Palouse Falls
We’re a lot more tired than Jennifer looks. In 50 minutes, we climbed 760′ along 5.1 miles of highway 261, from 540′ above sea level to 1,300′. The falls are another 2.2 miles down a dirt road, at an elevation of 900′. Although the downhill ride to the falls was a nice break from the uphill slog, we weren’t happy to give up all that elevation we’d have to gain back when we returned.
4/30/12: The falls
The falls plunge 200′ over a cliff and were most impressive. The view was well-worth the effort of getting there.
4/30/12: James at the falls
4/30/12: Palouse River
Quite a nice view down the Palouse River
4/30/12: Jennifer at the falls
… but hard to compete with the falls.
4/30/12: Marmots
Marmots sleeping on the cliffs above the falls.
4/30/12: Lunch
This little guy was eating lunch while we had ours.
4/30/12: Lyons Ferry State Park
A well-deserved break after returning from the falls. Our total climb was 1,160′: 760 to reach the park road from the anchorage and another 400 from the falls back up to the highway. And we had to fight a 20-30-knot headwind coming back up from the falls. Lyons Ferry State Park is closed, but Park Rangers were there maintaining the buildings and running sprinklers, and the lawns had been mowed. Perhaps it will re-open this season.
4/30/12: Lyons Ferry
The old Lyons Ferry, Washington’s last operating cable ferry. The river’s current propelled the ferry across the river, attached to the overhead pulley in the foreground.
4/30/12: Dusk
Train crossing the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge. That’s the trestle we photographed on the trip upriver–reportedly the highest working trestle in the US.
5/1/12: Monumental Rock
Monumental Rock is the namesake for Lower Monumental Dam, 3.5 miles to the west.
5/1/12, 8:20am: Lower Monumental Dam
Lockmaster watching us enter.
5/1/12: Working day
Several people were working atop this crane as we neared. The last of them is climbing down now.
5/1/12: Fish ladder
The incredibly complex-looking fish ladder structure.
5/1/12: At the top
Just before the water starts to drop. The west gate is actually below the water–if a boat were to hit the end of the lock, they’d just hit the wood barriers.
5/1/12: At the bottom
You can see the wood barriers, that we recently were even with, way above us.
5/1/12, 9:40am: Windust Park
On the dock at Windust Park for a late breakfast after locking through. With a combination of strong river current flowing westward and 20-30-knot winds blowing eastward docking was a bit challenging.
5/1/12: Breakfast
We were hoping to also bike to the visitors center at Lower Monumental Dam, but we called and found out it’s closed. So we settled for just breakfast on the back deck.
5/1/12: 1pm: Orchard Cove
Anchored for the night. We called this unnamed cove Orchard Cove after the surrounding orchards.
5/1/12: Utility pole
We took the dinghy ashore to hike up the bluffs. This old utility pole was ashore partway up.
5/1/12: View from bluffs
View into the anchorage from bluffs above.
5/1/12: Orchards
From the top of the bluff, orchards were visible far into the distance in every direction.
5/1/12: Orchard tailings
Big pile of pruning debris.
5/1/12: Train
Train passing along the south shore.
5/1/12: Deer
Deer halfway down the slope below us.
5/1/12: Wreck
This Ford truck looks like went of the bluff and flipped many times on the way down.
5/1/12: Fast way down
We took an easy trail up around the northern end of the bluffs, but took the steeper slope back down.
5/1/12: Tacos
Frying tortillas for a taco dinner.

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