Lyons Ferry


While out hiking at dawn for a good view of the bridges in the background, I am startled by three more mule deer – this guy seemed little afraid of me. Nearby were three bare patches of dirt in the tall grass – I had discovered where they frequently bed down.


This bridge originally served as the main crossing of what later became I-90 over the Columbia at Vantage, Washington. Too valuable to scrap, it was taken apart and reassembled here in advance of the water rising from the construction of another dam on the Snake in 1968. So narrow is its original design (1927) that oncoming vehicles must really pay attention as they ease past each other.


Lyons Ferry is the site of one of the region’s earliest ferry crossings of the Snake. Now housing a small marina and RV park, it is a great jump off point for fishing adventures. The Joso railroad bridge in the background is the longest and highest in the Union Pacific Railroad holdings. Still in service, it was built 102 years ago.


No visit to Lyons Ferry is complete without at least a quick visit to Palouse Falls. Recently named Washington State’s Official State waterfall, it drops nearly 200 feet. In 2009 a kayaker sailed off the top in an attempt to set a world record for doing such a thing. He was not only successful in setting the record but in proving that not every fool dies being foolhardy.


Not quite so foolhardy, this man still didn’t last long in the cold water below the falls. Can’t guarantee sights like this when you visit but the waterfall will always be spectacular.

Under The Bridge


Saw this tug and barge coming up river but with the traffic we’d seen already, wasn’t expecting much more than what you see here. I should have noticed the man standing atop of the black ironwork.


Much more finesse went on than thought as they eased what turned out to be a crane under a railroad bridge. Do you see two men now? Look at the next couple images then.


A high profile load and a low profile bridge come very close and the tug captain has a crewman up to watch. The throttle had been pulled back to a crawl, just in case.


From the tug bridge, it was even closer.


What I didn’t realize…


Was for balance and height, the crane had to be turned around and the boom lowered to clear the bridge. Soon as the tug was past it, a crewman fired up the crane and swiveled it to point forward. No wonder Mark Twain was enamored of river travel.

Meeting The Snake 1


As sinuous as the name suggests, the Snake cuts through basaltic cliffs to provide a highway for freight and fish alike. That is Little Granite Dam in the distance.


Though October we were surprised to see how green a few farms already were – the Palouse was straw yellow yet coming down into the Snake we saw that some farmers were further along in the cycle.


Full up. So much so that the Almota terminal on the river had grain stockpiled out in the over. We camped nearby and by the end of our 3 day stay, the outdoor grain had disappeared into a barge.


Close to the river things greened up. This young tree looked eerie in black and white and so I called it a ghost tree.


This I know is an oak, but what kind? I’d never seen an acorn so large and so encased by its “cup.” Outside of the cup, this acorn was almost the size of a golf ball.


This was a great place to hang for the time we spent here. Not only do they have a well shaded campground and modern marina, they had one of the best little restaurants. Had we wished, we could have sat still and let the river entertain us. Some of that entertainment will unfold in the next few posts.