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I started thinking that I would like to have a go-to place that was simple to get to and that I could escape to many times and continue to enjoy. A place that didn’t require a lot of mental energy to plan an escape. So I started staring at my maps. Lots of staring, looking at google earth, and surfing; searching for any information on areas that looked promising. I learned that many of the Washington State fish access sites allow camping and I came across the idea of going to the Potholes south of Moses Lake. Long Lake and Sage Lake east of the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge (CNWR) seemed to be an ideal place to check out.

I left Seattle and headed out, finding a wonderful spot to camp at Long Lake.


View from my camp site.  Notice the Columbia River flood basalt.


Another view

I had the lake almost to myself except for a few fisherman; pure bliss. Each morning I woke to see white pelicans on the lake and other birds floating in the sky lazily heading south for the winter. The weather was dry and hot.

Almost wonderful except for when the winds stopped and the mosquitoes appeared. Flocks of mosquitoes in the evening.   The mosquitoes drove me to hide inside my trailer armed with my fly swatter.  An intense battle followed any time I opened the door.  Blood splattered on the walls and ceiling of the trailer.  Lots of bloody spots, more than could have come from my bites.  With a bit of research on the web I found that mosquitoes bite lots of different animals and birds can be a favorite source of blood.   My thoughts jumped to thinking about OxyClean when I get home.

West in the CNWR is a coulee which is full of delights. I visualized the raging torrents of water ripping blocks of basalt from the coulee walls during the Missoula floods. The hydraulic jumps, the supercritical flow, yes I was visualizing the hydraulics of the flood – it is impossible to total divorce ourselves from our professional work selves at times.

Did this place pass my test to be my go-to place? No. Too many mosquitoes. But I may be back for the Sandhill Crane festival in March when it is too cold for mosquitoes.

Locations facts:

  • Good cell coverage.
  • Close to the Potholes State Park. $5 dump charge.
  • Sturdy gravel road from either direction. It may be rough and wash boarded and you may have to travel slow.
  • Due to fire danger in the summer and fall you most likely can’t have a fire or any outdoor BBQ.
  • This really isn’t in the middle of nowhere. About 10 miles to Othello.