Climbing Steamboat Rock

From the top
The view from the top of Steamboat

A recent visitor to the area was kind enought to post a great blog piece about their climb up Steamboat Rock.

Posting photos from significant stops along the route, you get to see how the climb looks before you decide to try it. (It’s pretty do-able for most folks, but it’s utterly without any services at the top).
I haven’t done this in a while, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor, especially is you’ve visited the Visitor Center at Grand Coulee Dam and understand how the Grand Coulee (the canyon, not the dam) was formed. It’s a jaw-dropper view from the top.

For a quick preview of it, see this couple’s great post.

Night sky program offered again this Saturday

Star gazers will have an opportunity to take advantage of an astronomy program, Saturday, Aug. 13.
The star gazer event will begin at Grand Coulee Dam’s Visitor Center auditorium at 7:15 p.m., and end up at Crown Point, using telescopes to search the skies.
The event is sponsored by the National Park Service and Washington State Parks, the Bureau of Reclamation and Grand Coulee Dam.

Nebulae will be one phenomenon stargazers will look for Saturday night.

The program is similar to one held early in July.
The program begins with an introduction to the night sky by NPS Sky Ranger Janice Elvidge. That will take about 45 minutes.
The group will then gather at Crown Point, where telescopes will be set up for examination of a galaxy, nebula and the moon, as well as other wonders of the sky.
The entire program is free and suitable for persons of all ages.
Organizers encourage people to bring their telescopes and binoculars and to wear or bring a warm coat. 

Lower lake means better beaches

I’ve got some good news and some not so great news, both about lake levels– on different lakes.

First the good. Lake Roosevelt has started to drop. Tonight, it’s down a little more than a foot.

You might not call this non-touristy spot on North Marina Way a "beach," but my dog loves it anyway. And sandy beaches will be better now, too.

That means we’ve got beaches! Last weekend, we boated to Swawilla Basin, an area with great beaches, but found no beach at all. But the big lake just started down last night and will likely continue.

By the weekend it will probably be down 2 to 3 feet, which I consider in the perfect range. It exposes beaches and leaves driftwood along the shore, not in the way of boats.

By the way, we found swimming to be quite pleasant, not cold, like it was just a couple weeks ago. This despite the fact that this has been the coolest summer since I’ve lived here (1989).

Now about Banks Lake.
The USBR started taking it down Aug. 1, as it does every year. But this time is different. A drop of 5 feet is normal, but by the end of August it’s predicted to be 13.5 feet down, depending on irrigators’ needs.
By October, it’s supposed to be at the record low of 30 feet below full, and it will stay that way until spring.

This planned drop is for maintenance of several things, including infrastructure at the south end of the lake.
The lake will still be accessible to boats at Coulee Playland in Electric City.

See the night sky, coulee style

Live a little, learn a lot with this fresh look at the night sky

One of the great things about being located where there is a part of the National Park Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and a great state park is that those entities all come with talented, interesting people.

And some of those folks will put on an interesting program for free this Saturday night.

A community astronomy program will be held July 9, beginning at Grand Coulee Dam’s Visitor Center at 7:15 p.m. and ending up at Crown Point at 9 p.m., according to Janice Elvidge of the National Park Service.

Elvidge will begin the night’s program in the Visitor Center auditorium where she will present an introduction to the night sky and explore through pictures some of the wonders of the heavens.
After that part of the program, those attending will retire to Crown Point where they will get to take a look at the galaxy, a nebula, the moon and one of our solar system’s planets through a telescope.

The Crown Point overlook, by the way, is a rather out-of-the-way must see, to which you might wish to return the next morning if you haven’t been there yet. It offers a fantastic view down river and up lake way over the top of the dam.

And if you’re a geo-cacher, there’s a nearby treasure to find. I’ll bet even Elvidge doesn’t know that.

Elvidge encourages people to bring their telescopes, spotting scopes or binoculars, if they have them, and to wear warm clothes.

She said the program will only be cancelled if it rains.

The event is sponsored by Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, Washington State Parks, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Fireworks, musicians, food, crafts, fun and a huge waterfall

A great printed publication just came out on the festivities planned for this weekend and July 4 in the Grand Coulee Dam area.

To see it online, click on the link image below. It’s pretty nice, informative too.

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