Published by Daniel Mosquin on May 27, 2007
Tags: USA, View from Steptoe Butte State Park, Washington
Botany Photo of the Day will have brief written entries on weekends, holidays and my vacations from April through September. – Daniel
Here are a couple more photographs of the Palouse Hills, taken from Steptoe Butte State Park.
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These have been amazing, I never thought farmland could look this good.
There’s an aura of romanticism to these photographs. I imagine they were taken at sunset thereby the gold tones, but the ondulations of the field give a feeling of sailing over water. Again, Daniel – lovely photographs. I certainly need to spend some time in the Palouse Hills.
This is a most beautiful place. I can only imagine what it was before, still it generates a sense of awe and peace.
These pictures make land that can seem very desolate while you are driving through it incredibly beautiful.
How very nice to see a part on the country I have never seen. Living in New England this is a marrvel to me. Thank you so much.
Ditto to everything above – the second one is super-dreamy.
Where are you taking these shots from?
Thanks all. Eric, both of these were taken from the summit of Steptoe Butte, just before sunset. The first was with a focal length of 200mm, the second at 95mm.
Wow–both photos are remarkable, but the top photo made me gasp. I lived in the Palouse for seven years during the 80’s. These photos remind me that we often take for granted the unusual beauty around us. Thank you!
I spent the first 18 years of my life in a town about 12 miles away from Steptoe Butte, in “The Heart of the Palouse Country”. We’d always take visitors to the top of the Butte for the fabulous views. Although the terrain is constant from one season to another, its colors and textures and patterns vary during the year; they reflect the dry-land cultivation practices and the stages of crop development.
When my brother and I returned home on college break, we would jog from the base to the top and back down. The road had a good incline to it, and it wound around the conical butte about 4-5 times in getting from base to top. On a hot August day, the ascending and rotating 360-degree view helped distract from the heart-pounding and the sweat-pouring.
I understand that the Palouse Hills are unique in the world with respect to their shape and composition. At one time there was much speculation about how they were formed. But now I believe the dominant theory holds that the undulations are dune-effects caused by volcanic dust being blown in by wind from the lava extrusion activity in southern Idaho.
In Dan’s photos, you can see evidence of the erosion that for several years has carried the rich topsoil from the high to the low places. The tops of the hills are barely fertile enough to grow anything, while the flats below produce incredible crop yields per acre.
Rivers do run through the Palouse country, and all the towns are located along them. You can’t see either from Steptoe Butte, however, since the rivers have cut through 200-400′ of the underlying basalt to form the canyons through which they run.
For the same reason, you can’t see Steptoe Butte from the center of any of the towns. You have to take a road whose route has at least partially been blasted through the basalt to attain smaller versions of the vistas in Dan’s photos.
The top photograph is at first glance a french impressionist painting, I would love to have it on my wall. I would never get tired of gazing at those undulating hills, and the colours are incredible. I’d love to see the same vista in winter weather. Thanks again for such stimulating work. Daph.
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