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The Palouse, that stretch of undulating hills in Eastern Washing State have sometimes been compared to Tuscany. I think that is a bit much, yet the Palouse does have its own charm and its extraordinary beauty, but lacking is the Italian cuisine, historical buildings and atmosphere. What makes the Palouse so special are the undulating “loess” hills in June covered with their spring growth of wheat and other legumes. The Palouse Losses are essentially windblown sediment that formed the rolling hills much like sand dunes along a beach and it explains why the dirt roads are sooo dusty. Anyway, early mornings and evenings provide wonderful highlights and shadows enriched by the various shades of green of fresh growth and some of the brown sediment showing through.
A favorite spot for photographers and gazers to visit is the 3,612 ft high Steptoe Butte. Personally, I find the road up a little nerve racking, but nothing like the back roads of the Colorado Rockies. From this elevation, one is granted a panorama of farms, hills and valleys. This image was taken at the top of Steptoe at sundown and it is emblematic of the wonderful images to be found there. But one needs to expand their visit beyond Steptoe to enrich their visit as there are other wonderful vantage points, barns, towns and other interesting images to capture and explore.
Unfortunately, a fair amount of the Palouse is out of cell phone coverage so one needs to use some type of off-line map or rely on a printed map. As I was exploring the internet for photographic spots and information on the Palouse, I found that The Palouse Chamber of Commerce has a very helpful, free map that one can use to locate some of those hidden vantage points and gems.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor