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Exploring Palouse Washington

palouse golden fields
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

There were certainly lots of MISadventures on our way to Palouse, and a little mishap on our last day in the area, besides that we had a lot of fun in Eastern Washington.

Palouse is the land of wheat and barley and lentils and garbanzo. No matter what the crop, in the summer just before harvest they are fields of gold. And if you get lucky as we did, you get to see them post-harvest as well where you can marvel at the patterns the farmers create with their combines.

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palouse harvested field
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

The swirls are the result of technological necessity. The shape of the hills was created during the last ice ages with glaciers being pushed up as ice moved. The steepness of the hills required that a self-leveling combine be invented so as the farmer harvested the sloping hills it ensures the combine doesn’t fall over.

We sat and watched several fields being harvested, it is fascinating to watch. Plus we love the farms and barns and silos that are in the foreground and background of the area they are working in.

Palouse red barn and harvester
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

The vast majority of tourists come in the spring when the fields are a glorious green, flowers are blooming and even the rustic barns look approachable.

palouse sunflowers
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

But we love the summer. (Although it was pretty darn hot!)

There’s nothing like a red barn against a golden backdrop.

palouse red barn
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

The people in this area are friendly as well, lots of waves from the fields, passing trucks or people walking along the road.

Verna-Starbuck

People like Verna who we spent an hour with when we stopped to look at a brick building in Starbuck. She shared the town’s history from the time she arrived as a fish counter to the time she and her husband the ex-mayor closed their bait shop. In the end, when we bid her farewell she hugged us and gave us a cup warmer from the remnants of her store.

Pulling-the-Jeep

Or the five farmers who rescued us when our Jeep got stuck. They were on their way to rescue us before we even walked 100 yards from our car. They smiled and laughed and asked us about where we were from like we were old friends.

Palouse Leonard Barn
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

Or the couple who lived on the property with the famous round barn. The barn was built by the Leonard family and it’s celebrating its 100th anniversary. There is farming and family history everywhere.

Don’t Miss: Steptoe Butte

Palouse Steptoe Butte
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

This park gives you amazing 360-views of the whole region. It is beautiful at both sunrise and sunset. I would say it is a great spot for star photography as well, but the park closes at sunset. (Boo.)  It is quite cold and windy, so it was the perfect escape from the 90 and 100-degree temperatures we were experiencing!

Don’t Miss: Barns

Besides the Leonard Barn shown above, there is the Heidenreich Dairy Farm. It is such a happy place. We visited several times and you could hear the family laughing and talking as they worked. They had wonderful birdhouses at the opening of their property and very content chickens running around as well.

palouse heidenreich dairy farm
Photo credit: Sel & Poivre Photography

Check out Artisans at the Dahmen Barn to see a barn converted into a great exhibit space. My favorite part is the fence surrounding the barn which uses old farm equipment.

Artisans at the Dahmen Barn

Wherever we went in Palouse, we encountered warm, hearty souls who were fantastic ambassadors for this region rich in nature’s bounty. It was a good reminder of why the heritage of farming is so important to hold onto.

How about you? Have you been to this region in Washington? What time of year did you go? If you haven’t been, have I piqued your interest?

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17 Comments

  1. Love this series of photos! I’ve never been to this corner of the U.S., but I’m a sucker for Americana and red barns, so I think I will have to check it out. 🙂 I’m glad to hear the road trip is coming along well, even with a few misadventures!

    1. @Katie, it reminded us of our week in Tuscany with long drives along the beautiful field except that there was no apero or pasta waiting for us at the end of the day!

  2. I’m a sucker for wheat fields. I like the photo of the combine field patterns. There is so much America I haven’t seen in person yet. Thanks for the post.

  3. I have never been to this part of Eastern Washington!! This looks so beautiful, I love living in Washington it is so pretty here!

  4. What an idyllic setting. It looks like a place out of wonderland. I can imagine the folks there are happy and calm people.

    1. @Elizabeth, yes, life seems so simple there. In reality, I know farming isn’t easy, but it is such a wonderful place, it’s hard to imagine anything other than joy and happiness with living off the land.

  5. I love this so much. My dad lives in Washington, and I would love to explore the state more. I will definitely put this region on my list.

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