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Palouse Falls stunning at 10 degrees

STATE PARKS — Jon Jonckers of Spokane found stunning contrasts at Palouse Falls State Park as mist from the 185-foot waterfall froze on the surrounding cliffs in the 10-degree temperatures on Saturday. 

Forest Service biologist to lead nature hike

HIKING — Join a Colville National Forest wildlife biologist on his annual naturalist’s tour of the Elk Creek Trail near Sullivan Lake on May 18. 

Mike Borysewicz, a veteran wildlife biologist at the Sullivan Lake District, will show participants an old prescribed burn heavily used by elk, a cascading waterfall and a wildflower meadow on this delightful two-mile-long loop trail. 

Meet at the Elk Creek Trailhead with shoes, clothing and a pack with lunch and water.

When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. 

Where: Elk Creek Trail Head.  Five miles northeast of Metaline Falls. Drive east from Highway 31 on County Road 9345 (toward Sullivan Lake).  The Trail Head is located at the Mill Pond historic site northwest of Sullivan Lake.

Info: Mike Borysewicz, Sullivan Lake Ranger District, Wildlife Biologist, (509) 446-7500

Hog Canyon waterfall beckons early season hikers

HIKING — Fishing success is tapering off at Hog Canyon Lake west of Spokane near Fishtrap Lake, but the hiking season is underway.

The waterfall that flows into the lake's upper end was flowing nicely on Saturday. A dozen or so anglers were trying to catch rainbow trout in the winter fishing lake that closes for the season at the end of March while several groups of hikers were walking — and backpack camping — along the shoreline on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

  • See a post from a previous year.

Fishing at Fishtrap Lake, which should be excellent this year, opens the fourth Saturday in April.

Photographer finds ice framing Palouse Falls

STATE PARKS — Palouse Falls State Park is worth a trip any time of year. But Spokane photographer Craig Goodwin braved temperatures in the teens for a visit this week and likes what he saw.

"Palouse Falls probably gets most of its visits in the spring with the big runoff but I headed out Friday and with all the ice I found it arguably more beautiful than in the spring," he said, commenting on the photo above.

Canoe or kayak best way to see this waterfall

WATERFALLS — It's been a great, wet spring to experience the power waterfalls from the Spokane River in downtown Spokane to Palouse Falls near the Snake River and many more.

I've written about the some of the hiking possibilities for many of these falls, including those on BLM land at Hog Canyon (near Fishtrap Lake) and Rock Creek/Escure Ranch.

How about a canoe trip to visit the small but intimate Exley Falls at Horseshoe Lake in Pend Oreille County?

The lake's public access is managed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, so a Discover Pass is required, or the Vehicle Access Pass that comes with a hunting and fishing license.

Kayaker makes spring season splash in Pack River

PADDLING — Watch Spokane pro kayaker Brian Jamieson carry over the lingering snow to sack the falls and rock slides on Idaho's Pack River.

Kayaker claims first descent of Towell Falls

PADDLING — Brian Jamieson claimed the first kayak descent of Towell Falls Saturday in the BLM's Rock Creek/Escure Ranch area 20 miles south of Sprague

The proof is captured here by photographer Michael Kinney (Tag Ur it Photography).

Paddlers plunge over 90-foot falls for video

KAYAKING — A trio of kayakers raised the eyebrows of local officials recently by paddling over 90-foot Noccalula Falls in Etowah County, Alabama.

See the story.

The paddlers risked big fines and a tongue lashing by doing the stunt for a video — "Watershed: Land of Giants" —  they plan to release online around Christmas.

Still, their feat of daring and survival pales to the 2009 leap of faith Tyler Bradt made when he set a world record for waterfall paddling by surviving his 186-foot kayak plunge over Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington.

See the video here.

Incidentally, Bradt reportedly injured his spine on Oregon's Abiqua Creek on March 20. A Facebook post said his L1 was pulled apart and his surgeon predicted 12 weeks for recovery. 

Online vote names NEW seven wonders of the world

OUTDOOR TRAVEL — A world-wide online pole has named a new list of seven wonders of the world.  Check it out and see if you agree. 

I'm thinking the people who voted on this have not been to the Grand Canyon.

Columia Gorge wets your whistle for waterfalls

HIKING — There's nothing like the lure of a waterfall to coax a hiker out on the trail in the heat of summer.

Certainly we have a few good waterfalls in the Inland Northwest.

But we are the bush league of waterfalls compared with the Cascades.

Terry Richard, outdoors writer for the Oregonian, says Oregon's Cascades have the best concentration, but he gives high marks to the Columbia River Gorge area and Southern Washington Cascades destinations such as Falls Creek, Rodney Waterfall in Beacon Rock State Park and Lower, Upper and Middle Falls on the Lewis River.

Read his story here.

Escure Ranch, Rock Creek waterfall in top spring form

PUBLIC LANDS – This is prime time to visit the BLM’s Escure Ranch area south of Sprague. The scabland area is green, Rock Creek is flowing nicely over Towell Falls, wildflowers are blooming and the cheatgrass hasn’t turned brown and full of spears.

Read on for details from my weekend reconnaissance.

Upper Palouse Falls worth a hike

HIKING — This is prime time to visit Palouse Falls State Park, where the water is rushing and the landscape is starting to get green.  But don't be content to view the falls just from the parking lot overlook.

Steve and Karen Heaps of Spokane had the right idea this weekend to hike to the cascade-like  upper falls above the main 185-foot tall falls.  Just head upstream from the parking area, down to the railroad tracks for a short way and cut down on the trail to the upper falls.

Note:  The railroad is active.   

Great weekend for waterfalls

HIKING — Reports from paddling friends say Hangman Creek had dropped too low for good canoeing over the weekend. Meanwhile, the Palouse River was flowing too big for safe paddling.

Time to put on the hiking shoes and just stand in awe of the sight at Palouse Falls State Park.

Dayhike destination: Waterfall ripping at Hog Canyon Lake

HIKING — Looking for a good early-spring dayhike?  Check out this spot i visited with my daughter this weekend.

Runoff period is a good time to visit the BLM land around Fishtrap Lake for a hike into Hog Canyon Lake.  .

Hog Canyon is a popular winter fishing lake off I-90 from the Fishtrap exit. There are several ways to reach it, including a longer walk from the main trailhead parking area on Fishtrap Road between the Sprague Highway and Fishtrap Resort.

First timers might want to use the BLM Fishtrap map to find your way to the Hog Canyon boat launch. Hike the west shoreline, scramble up to the rim and follow the rim up lake to the falls, with the lake below you to the right. Beautiful.

Butter cups blooming. Grass widows and balsamroot soon to follow.