Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Ginkgo Petrified Forest

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Here's a slideshow from Washington State's Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park, on the Columbia River north of Vantage, WA. The park is famous for the aforementioned petrified ginkgo trees, but I mostly stopped for the view of the river. And, well, the nearby Vantage Bridge, which I've already posted about. This bridge thing is a sickness, I tell you. I was on my way east to Moses Lake at the time and didn't have time to explore beyond the visitor's center, unfortunately. The park is over 7400 acres in size, and features a number of hiking trails. HistoryLink.org, the Washington Trails Association, and a 2008 Seattle Times article all have more info about the various hiking options, if you have more time than I did. The state's Wanapum Recreation Area, just south of the park, includes a campground and boat launch. If I was more into camping I might consider staying there at some point; this area along the Columbia strikes me as a great place to take sunrise or sunset photos, and it's not like there are any swanky hotels nearby to stay at.

For some reason, my mother has always been fascinated by ginkgo trees. Particularly the fact that they used to live in the Northwest but went extinct, but their relatives survived in Asia, and now they've been reintroduced here. That tale seems to be meaningful to her and I've never been sure why. She even tracked down a fossil ginkgo leaf and had it in a display stand on the living room coffee table for a long time. I'm afraid this fascination didn't pass along to me; the trees are attractive and they do have interesting leaves, but they can also create a disgusting mess in the fall when they start dropping their waxy vomit-scented fruit.

Technically you're supposed to pay to park at Ginkgo Petrified Forest. The visitor center was closed, though, and I couldn't figure who or how to pay. So I did this outlaw style, sort of. I did end up buying a parking permit at Sun Lakes / Dry Falls a few days later that I'm not sure I actually needed, so I guess it all balances out somehow.

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