stillhowlyn's travels 2010 travel blog

Tacoma Narrows!

Along the Yakima River Canyon!

Lmuma BLM $8!

Us and the tent-campers!

Wanapum Dam, Columbia River

The mighty Columbia!

Ice Harbor Dam!

Petroglyphs exhibit Native American habitat along the Snake River!

Dam overview!

The countryside!

Our site at Charbonneau w/view of the marina!

The marina!

We're ready for new adventures and as we head east, through Tacoma and I-90 over the Cascades, we've decided to check out a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) site on the Yakima River south of Ellensburg, WA. Lmuma Creek recreation site is located in the scenic Yakima River Canyon, which cuts through massive basalt cliffs and rolling desert hills, 16 miles south of Ellensburg on Highway 821. This canyon has been designated as a state scenic route and offers excellent wildlife viewing, fishing in a Blue Ribbon trout stream, family river rafting and camping. The campground is actually more suitable for tent camping but we did find one site along the river that accommodated the motorhome for a very reasonable $8 per night with our Golden Age card. There were lots of rafters riding the fast white water rushing past us and families packing up their gear heading home on this Sunday evening!

From Vantage, WA, a few miles east of Ellensburg, we turned south and followed 243 along the Columbia River thinking we might find more BLM or Corp of Engineer (COE) parks. We did pass two dam facilities, the Wanapum and Priest Rapids but no campgrounds, though day use and Visitor Centers were available. I checked the internet for COE parks in the area and the closest was about 60 miles south near Pasco, WA. We decided on Ice Harbor Lock and Dam located on Lake Sacajawea, a dammed portion of the Snake River. Just downstream of the dam at the Tri-Cities area is the confluence of the Snake, Columbia and Yakima Rivers, part of the Columbia River Basin system of dams; pretty powerful literally as a lot of electricity is generated from the dams along these mighty rivers.

The campground at Ice Harbor, Charbonneau, named for Toussaint Charbonneau, who was an interpreter for Lewis and Clark and husband to Sacajawea, the famous Shoshone interpreter on the Corps of Discovery, is one of the nicest COE parks we have visited. The grounds are green and well maintained, lots of trees (!), sites are large and most have views of either the lake, dam or marina. The marina offers full services and rents houseboats as well. The cost of $11 per night with Golden Age card included electricity.

We stayed two nights, and the second day enjoyed getting out for a long walk, me with camera, and Howard running his 5 or so miles. Then we drove down for a tour of the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam. The unmanned Visitor's Center was small but impressive with interpretive exhibits, movies, and an excellent fish ladder viewing room where you can sit and observe the migration of Salmon, Steelhead and Shad. Unfortunately, due to security issues, we were not able to enter many of facilities, including driving across to view the lock, which at 100 feet deep, is one of the largest in the world.

Interesting to note that this river system, the Columbia which flows into the Pacific Ocean just west of Astoria, OR, combined with the Snake, is navigable by small ships and barges through a series of 8 locks, rising 700 feet, all the way to Clarkston, WA and Lewiston, ID!

We'll see you next in Clarkston!

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