Leaving I-90, the drive through Prairie City is beautiful. Golden hills with large homesteads and horses grazing, it is a delight on a perfect blue-sky day.
The elevation gain is subtle as you head into the park. Soon we are back in the forest with Western Red Cedar and Aspens lining the road. At the viewpoint I'm surprised to see how much we climbed from the valley floor.
As in other state and national parks we've visited, signage is not great at Mount Spokane. When we come to the ski-lift there are workers doing repairs to the building and nothing and no one else there. The road continues but only goes to a condominium complex <weird>.
We stop at the ski lift area to look around. I couldn't believe how steep the mountain is here, it looks straight up. I figure there has to be a park road on the other side. A gradual, wide, real, road to the top.
|Mount Spokane summit waaaaaay up there|
There is a small campground - tents only with a large covered group area and a large bathroom with flush toilets and sinks.
We find North Summit Road which sounds like a road that goes to the summit. We've become road trip geniuses.....
It starts out in the trees, a decently wide road. It quickly gets very steep. Then it gets very narrow. And steeper. Then the trees disappear. There are no guard rails. At the sharp turns there is no visible road ahead of me. Just wide open blue skies to no where. Breathing is getting difficult.
It's not the altitude, I'm truly terrified. Of course Bill offers to drive but knows I couldn't handle the passenger seat either. There's no going back. Hell, going forward is sketchy. It seems to go on forever, steadily climbing.
Thankfully before I hyperventilate or my fingers break from gripping the wheel like a vise, we reach the top. I pull as far away from the edge, lean the seat back, and calm myself.
Bill checks out the summit which is the top of the ski lift and the radio towers we saw from the bottom. The bottom of that really steep mountain. What was I thinking coming up here?
|Mount Spokane summit, waaaay up here (this parking area is about six times wider than the road)|
At least it is a nice 72 degrees......
I seriously consider walking back down, but as I regain my equilibrium I know I can just take it slow. Much of the fear was from not knowing what was "next".
Strangely, going down is a lot easier. A lot. I actually take a quick peak a the view. Which is breath taking in a much healthier way than the trip up. I laugh at myself and thank Bill for putting up with me. Can you imagine being in a car with a freaked-out psycho behind the wheel? He's a saint.
A couple stops for groceries and a bite of lunch and we're back home.
I think I might have an issue with heights......