View Full Version : July 4th Jeep trip in the Quilomene Wildlife Recreation Area
07-06-2011, 05:30 PM
At least the 2nd half of my days off, I was busy over the weekend.
Mike and I packed the Jeep and left Monday morning. We'd never really been in this area, and had NO IDEA of what it is. http://www.bentler.us/eastern-washington/recreation/quilomene-wildife-area.aspx
We're talking a LOT of square miles of NOTHING out there. We spent a total of 9.5 hours of off-roading before coming back out in a wind generator farm, and never saw a single human. We've got to get a Jeep trip together with XK forum people in this area, so we can hit it again SOON.
We went in a few miles past the Ghinko Petrified Forest state park interpretive center. You'll see a photo taken from above looking down on the visitor's center later. The trip total is a little over 200 miles, with a good 50% of that off road.
GPS marker # 10 was our Monday's night campsite. It was up on a high spot. We tossed the bags out and stared into a starry sky 'til the wee hours. I was startled by a huge owl that flew right over my head. (Within arm's reach) The sky blacked out for a second, and I heard the air in his wings. We figured it wasn't by chance, the owl was probably checking out the strange ''lump" on the ground where humans are seldom seen.
Where we went:
07-06-2011, 05:35 PM
This is typical of the route. There are some serious places to get past in the deep canyons. You go from a ridge-top to V-notch, to ridge-top to get anywhere out there.
Sometimes it looks like Arizona.
Strange formations in the basalt.
Looking down on the Ghinko visitor's center. (These photos are in no particular order of the trip)
07-06-2011, 05:41 PM
A panorama shot of a canyon bottom
Looking into Frenchman Coulee from the west. That's an interesting place in itself.
A green belt in the dry zone. No actual water, but just a band of green.
Fording a stream in yet another canyon.
We dropped all the way down to the Columbia River!
07-06-2011, 05:48 PM
A dead motorcycle. This place is at least 20 miles from the nearest pavement.
Cactus. These were everywhere.
A ''hat'' formation.
The same ''hat'' from the other side of a HARD climb out of the usual V-notch canyon between.
What felt like a year later, (the next day) we started into a transition zone. And Mt. Rainier and the Cascades are in front of us.
07-06-2011, 05:55 PM
We did what the sign says.
The Wild Horse wind farm area. (Coming out from the back side of it, thru cattle gates)
The Foxwing in action at a lunch stop. It was high noon, and no shade but what we made. (Parked at a visitor's center for the wind farm)
A super-flowing Priest Rapids dam.
Panned back a bit. We assume everyone was after Salmon or Steelhead.
Very high water at the Vernita area. The road leads to a boat launch. Maybe not right at the moment. :)
07-06-2011, 06:04 PM
A sage brush tunnel. The stuff was as tall as the Jeep!
Sage brush intrusion! Screech on the paint!!
The sinking sun. It was time to find a high spot and campsite so we could look at the stars.
Not much to block out the sky from here.
This place makes ''The Slab" and Hover park look pathetic. We had no idea of the miles of nothingness out there. Most of Washington state around our town is becoming endless agricultural with equally endless KEEP OUT signs on endless fences. It's nice to know there's still a whole lot of nothing to go Jeeping in. :) It's about 2.5 hours away from the Tri-Cities, but that's okay.
07-07-2011, 10:26 AM
I'm down for this trip, it looks like a blast. Keep me updated on when you guys want to plan this.
07-07-2011, 06:07 PM
very nice awesome scenery bro!
07-07-2011, 06:35 PM
Looks familar lol. I've been to that rest area several times and had no idea there was anything out there other then sage brush and tumble weeds.
07-08-2011, 10:51 AM
We're heading to a family reunion, followed by a week at Crater Lake. After that... we gotta get a trip planned and hit this place again. A Jeep jamboree and camp-out would be great.
I'll have to get with Mike and post some of his photos. Most of the time I was keeping the steering wheel from twisting out of my hand. It's an art to ride above 3 feet deep washout ruts without falling in. :)
Because of the topography, I mentioned before that going north/south is pretty much ridge-top to V-notch to ridge-top. Most canyons have a lot or greenery and a few have streams to ford. We never knew what to expect next, as every corner was a surprise.
There was one big canyon with a huge tree lined meadow. We headed east away from it to go back towards the river, so we never went down there. (Looked down on it from above) On Google Earth, it's obviously a creek, and the road goes past it and around another ridge to the west. There are other places that need checked out too.
Another place was almost too tight to get thru, with a small forest of willows and Russian olive trees scraping the rig. That was at the head of the green stripe in what looks like otherwise dry desert. (One of the posted photos) The road Y'ed there. We went right at first, and took the photos looking down on the visitor center, (After miles of climbing) then back to the Y and went left. That road clings to the side of a cliff, then runs across a bench land, then plunged into a twisting slot of a canyon, and eventually popped out at river level.
One thing's for sure, it isn't all dried up featureless desert like you'd expect. Where we headed back west and out, we were only about 1/3 of the way north into the entire wilderness zone. On Tuesday, we came out on a road that we thought might somehow connect with roads leading to Wenachee, but looking later on Google Earth, we'd have run out of fuel attempting that, since going right would've taken us into another 100 square miles o' nuthin' :)
07-08-2011, 12:11 PM
Sounds like a fun trip and can't wait until we can set something for more of us to go.
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