We want to head south to Portland, Oregon. But it would be hard to get campsites for the weekend due to the busy travel season, so we decided to take off the beaten path. Stephen requested a reservation for a state park campground near Goldendale last night.
I was up at 5 in the morning hoping to see the Mt. Rainier in sunrise. But it was a cloudy morning and the summit was hidden behind the thick clouds. We took the same road as we came -Washington 12 East to Yakima. We passed Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We talked about the campgrounds we checked yesterday along the road. Clouds covered the higher part of mountains adding a mystery to this landscape. We didn’t stop at the grand view point of Mt. Rainier. But I turned my head in the fast driving truck and saw its majestic peak in the misty clouds.
We entered the Wenatchee National Forest after the White Pass. There were still road work and we had to wait for about 20 minutes or so. The family in an RV at the front got out of the truck and went inside the RV. Stephen joked that they might be having lunch in the RV. Two truckers stood in the middle of the road and chatted. I also got out stretching my legs and watching the thin clouds flying above the sky. It was cold at night in the mountains. But the morning sun was warm and the breeze was cool.
We left the forest behind when the Naches River appeared by the road. The landscape changed to the desert scenery as we approaching Yakima. Large areas of lava rocks exposed on the hillsides. Orchards and fruit companies were numerous along the road. A town is even named as Fruitvale. Fruit apparently is the core of the valley. Some of the Washington apples, apricots, berries, and peaches we bought from the grocery stores might be grown here. I wanted some peaches but we didn’t stop by the fruit stands on the road.
We took 82 East/ 97 South after leaving highway 12. Stephen checked his cell phone and wondered if the state park has replied to the request of reservation. But no reply yet. We filled up the tank with diesel at $2.89 at a Shell station. After a short drive we came to Wapato and the diesel was only $2.40! Should have waited a little longer.
We drove miles after miles through yellow mounds where yellow grass and soil dominate the landscape. The yellow color was pretty against the blue sky. This area is the Yakama Indian Reservation. Forest with Ponderosa pines and other drought tolerant trees appeared along the road as we getting closer to the Brooks Memorial State Park.
We arrived at the park at noon and the camp host was very kind. He was a short old man wearing a hat for volunteers of the national parks. He could guarantee our stay for one night. We got the site number 5. Stephen used the cell booster to boost the Verizon signal. The signal was very weak but he could get online although it was very slow. After some efforts he reserved for 3 nights here. That will take us through the weekend!
The camp host has very good hospitality and introduced us the nearby attractions. There isn’t much to see around here. But the St. John’s Monastery Bakery was worth the visit. It is a Greek Gothic Monastery. We bought three little plates of pastry. The baklava was so sweet! The Belgian Chocolate Carmel Nuts Cookie was yummy, too! A sweet ending of the day.