Ancient Lake near Quincy, WA 5/18/20

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Ancient Lake near Quincy, WA 5/18/20

Post by cfm » May 20th, 2020, 6:37 pm

I've been meaning to visit this area for years. Finally got a chance on my return from a work deployment to Spokane.

This is on the upper Columbia Plateau. An area of dry scablands where the Ice Age Missoula Floods carved channels into the basalt as massive amounts of water rushed westerly towards the Pacific Ocean. It is the land of potholes and coulees. It's now very dry here, but there are seasonal water flows and many year round lakes in the lowest depressions.

There are lots of options for hikes in this area, but I used WTA's page for guidance to visit the Ancient Lake Trail. This is a WA State Park that had recently reopened. Discover Pass required.
Judith Pool.jpg
The trail starts out as a well worn dirt road, and I soon diverted on a foot path and wandered down into a coulee below some dramatic hexagonal basalt columns.
IMG_2432 (1).jpg
This area was full of life. Cacophony of birds; waterfowl, redwing blackbirds, magpies and crows, and songbirds. Dragonflies and mosquitoes active too. Blooming and fragrant wild roses near the pond.
The other resident I was surprised to meet were marmots! Didn't get any good pics.

I climbed up out of the coulee alongside the spring feeding into the pond. They say to bring your own water here if you are going to spend the night. The lakes are fed from water that travels from agricultural fields.

After wandering around the area, I finally made it over to Ancient Lake. Who doesn't love a waterfall in the desert?
waterfall into lake.jpg

There is a trail that leads up the north side of the fall, but for fun I scrambled up to the base of the cliffs on the south side and found myself in this cool rock hallway that led me right to the falls.
scramble to falls.jpg
The greenery surrounding the top of the falls included more wild rose, stinging nettle and poison oak! Glad I had sleeves and long pants on to go through there.

My loop was about 7.5 miles and 800 ft eg, but you can make it longer or shorter with many trails, and wide open country for off trail travel.

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Re: Ancient Lake near Quincy, WA 5/18/20

Post by Paul2 » May 22nd, 2020, 6:44 pm

Nice! I went on my first bikepacking trip there. Great spot in October too. I remember riding the trails down to the Columbia and over to the Gorge Amphitheater too. I had never heard of the Gorge before, so it was a funny thing to come across out there!
I've been wandering early and late, from New York City to the Golden Gate, and it don't look like I'll ever stop my wandering.
-James Taylor

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retired jerry
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Re: Ancient Lake near Quincy, WA 5/18/20

Post by retired jerry » May 23rd, 2020, 5:45 am

That's on my list to go see some of those places

There are endless interesting documentaries about the flood

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Re: Ancient Lake near Quincy, WA 5/18/20

Post by justpeachy » May 23rd, 2020, 12:06 pm

Nice to see this report from you, cfm! The scablands are such an interesting area. I've explored a little bit over there and would love to go back.

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