Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cle Elum, Washington

On Thursday we drove further west into the state of Washington.  We passed through the three-city area of  Pasco, Kennewick, and Richland.  They lie at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima Rivers.  After noticing the harvesting of wheat in the Walla Walla area, it was interesting to see the wheat sitting in large piles at the wharfs waiting to be shipped out.  Heading north we drove through a section of the Yakima River valley where there are many peach and apple orchards as well as vineyards.  I now fully understand why it has been said that Washington produces the most apples of any other state!   Climbing out of the valley we suddenly left the lush fields and pastures to discover a vast canyon spread out below us.
 That evening we parked outside of the town of Cle Elum, a town named after its namesake river which flows down from Cle Elum Lake 8 miles to the northeast. In the Kittitas Indian tongue Cle Elum means “swift water”.  The Yakima River flows into the Cle Elum River, we are currently parked close to the Yakima River.  At the present its level is quite high and it, as well as the Cle Elum River is flowing very swiftly. 

 Yesterday, Saturday, we drove into the town to tour the Carpenter House Museum.  In the early part of the last century Frank Carpenter was a successful banker- his bank was one of the very few which survived the Great Depression years.   His house is a large three-story frame building.  In one of the bedrooms we were surprised to find furniture made by John’s past employer, the Boeing Company.  During World War I most planes were made of wood and therefore Boeing had many wood craftsmen.  Pictured below is a French styled bed painted cream with floral wreaths, made by the company.  It was in the nursery of the home.
From the town of Cle Elum we wandered north and stopped to take hike the Salmon Viewing Trail along the Cle Elum River.  Unfortunately this is the wrong time of the year to see their passage down the river- that happens in September and October.  Along the river there are bleachers from which to view the salmon.

 Our furthest point north Friday was the town of Roselyn.  It was once used as a backdrop for the television series “Northern Exposure” and given the fictitious name of Cicely, Alaska.  In reality it was a successful coal mining town founded in 1886 with its population peaking at 4,000 in the 1920s.  It is now a town catering to tourists, with many restaurants and small shops.  What makes it so charming is that the town has kept many of its older buildings, many of which were built in the early part of the 20th century.

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