Tag Archives: Active

McCroskey State Park/Skyline Drive (Idaho)

On a recent Sunday we decided to go on an exploratory drive.  We chose the 18 mile Skyline Drive of the Mary Minerva McCrosky State Park in Idaho.

Skyline Drive offers beautiful views of the Palouse, even on a slightly rainy day like the one we had. It is very interesting in that it takes you through a typically western forest to a typically eastern one.

From the website:

“This 5300-acre ridgeline park is dedicated to pioneer women. McCroskey State Park’s highlight is an 18-mile skyline drive through the park on unimproved roads provides spectacular views of the rolling Palouse country and access to 32 miles of multi-purpose trails. Facilities include a group day use shelter, primitive camping areas and picnic areas along the road. The road is not recommended for large RVs and may be too rough for your family car.”

We did the road in our light SUV, and it was fine.  Here is a photo of the typical road condition:

It is free.  It has campsites, parking, restrooms, and vault toilets (whatever that is!). I think I saw hiking trails, but we did not do any hiking around.  It is open all year.

Info:

http://www.visitidaho.org/thingstodo/parks/mccroskey-state-park.aspx

http://www.wildernet.com/pages/area.cfm?areaID=IDSPMC&CU_ID=1

We bookended our drive with some snacks, of course.  On the way there we went to Potlatch, Idaho and visited the Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille and Laundromat.

Yes, laundromat.  Meaning there are two washers and dryers in the front part of the establishment, next to the pool table and video games (you eat in the rear part).  Kind of kooky, but fun, friendly, good burgers, open on Sunday, and they allowed kids.

Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille
220 6th St

Potlatch, ID 83855

Phone:  (208) 875-1067

At the end of our journey we went to Garfield and had ice cream and beer at Smokin’ Papas BBQ Cafe.  I have been told the BBQ is very good, and I hope to get back to try it.  They also have pizza. We were really thankful to find another place open on Sunday.

Smokin’ Papas

(509) 635-1290

216 W California St, Garfield, WA

It was a nice way to spend a rainy Sunday, and we got to see some nooks and crannies, and sweeping vistas, of the lovely Palouse.

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Filed under Food, Free, Idaho, Nature and Outdoors, Things to Do

Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute

I am going to start doing some entries on places I want to go but haven’t gone yet due to a lack of time (a constant problem!)  This is the first one.

The Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI) is a local organization that seeks to “increase citizen involvement in decisions that affect our region’s environment. Through community organizing and education, PCEI assists members of our communities in making environmentally sound and economically viable decisions that promote a sustainable future.”  (From their website http://www.pcei.org/mission.htm.)

Its website describes a handful of “Special Places” which I am very much looking forward to exploring this summer.  The Special Places include Rose Creek, Magpie Forest, Smoot Hill, Moscow Mountain Cedars, Idler’s Rest and PCEI’s stream restoration sites. These sites are all close to Pullman.

From the PCEI website, here is some information about each Special Place (note there is a lot more info on the PCEI website -these are just small excerpts):

ROSE CREEK:  “The Rose Creek Nature Preserve (RCNP) is a special place located only 7.5 miles northwest of Pullman, Washington, near Albion Rose Creek Preserve is the best example of the distinct quaking aspen-black hawthorn-cow parsnip community type of its kind remaining in the endangered Palouse meadow steppe ecosystem. The twelve-acre preserve is bisected by Rose Creek with a plant community of native bunchgrass species in the upland, and a lush community of species such as Fendler’s waterleaf, and purple trillium in the wet meadow.”  (http://www.pcei.org/rosecreek/)

THE MAGPIE FOREST:  “The Magpie Forest is important because it provides wildlife habitat and represents one of the last remnants of native Palouse shrub-steppe vegetation. Pullman’s Environmental Quality Commission has designated the Magpie Forest as one of city’s most important and endangered “critical areas” in anticipation of its eventually becoming part of Pullman, Washington. [P] The Magpie Forest provides an opportunity to explore native plants, wildlife habitat, invasive species and conservation issues.”  (http://www.pcei.org/magpie.htm)

SMOOT HILL:  “This 730 acre farm, located 12 miles from the Pullman campus, was purchased by the WSU in 1972 for research and educational use. Over 300 acres of this property are in the Conservation Reserve Program because it one of the largest intact remnants of the native Palouse plant community. Smoot Hill’s natural diversity and beauty make it popular for ecology and botany field trips.”  (http://www.pcei.org/smoot_hill.htm)

MOSCOW MOUNTAIN CEDARS:  “Largely spared from disturbance by its location on top of a steep 4700’ ridge, this 269-acre parcel of state school trust land is home to an ancient grove of western red cedars estimated to be 1000 years old. Nurtured by the headwater springs of Felton Creek and Hatter Creek, this stand of trees was nominated in 1974 to be a National Natural Landmark as the best extant example of western red cedar/larch habitat.”  (http://www.pcei.org/mm_cedars.htm)

IDLER’S REST:  “Idler’s Rest in managed by the Palouse Land Trust. The site has several trails, one easy along the creek with towering fir and cedar, one middle that goes through a grassland, and one longer and harder that climbs out of the valley floor.”  (http://www.pcei.org/idlers_rest.htm)

The PCEI website http://www.pcei.org/ has a lot more information about its activities, which include all sorts of things regarding environmental education, restoration and preservation.  Of course, it encourages donations and membership and provides volunteer opportunities.

As I visit the Special Places, I will do complete entries.  Another reason to look forward to summer!

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Filed under Moscow Idaho, Nature and Outdoors, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Uncategorized

Zeppoz (Pullman, Washington)

It is really, really adorable to see kids bowl.  And it is good to have things to do when it is too hot or too cold to be outside.  Enter Zeppoz.  In case you don’t know, Zeppoz is bowling alley, arcade and casino located in Pullman.

Lots of lanes at Zeppoz

Zeppos is very kid friendly.  It has racks for assisting the kids to bowl, and you can put bumpers on the lanes to prevent gutter balls.

Strike! (Assisted)

It also has an arcade, which of course my boys love.  It is a struggle to keep them away from the forbidden games…..

Kids, can we do "Dance Dance Revolution????"

The bowling is fairly inexpensive for kids – we can only do one game max – and there are often specials.  They also take part in kidsbowlfree.com during the summer, which is a very cool program to check out.

The vitals:

http://www.zeppoz.com/

Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 11:30AM – 2:00AM
Saturday-Sunday 9:30AM – 2:00AM

Happy Hour 4-7 PM Weekdays

Dinner Served 4-10 PM Everyday
780 SE Bishop Blvd. Pullman WA 99163
509.334.7101 main
509.332.3352 fax

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Filed under Inside Activities, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing

Conservation Park (Pullman, WA)

Path, Conservation park

I love to get the boys outside, especially when it is close and easy.  Today we went to Conservation Park, and it was both.

Conservation Park Entrance

Pullman’s website gives the story of Conservation Park:

“The City’s ‘old nursery’ site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper  Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.”

A new friend

The park is basically just open space with a rough trail.  The trail is probably about a half mile, winding downhill to the road where the water treatment plant is(!)  It took us about 45 minutes to go all the way down and back – and that included breaks for finding sticks, throwing rocks, and a bit of arguing (naturally).

This was a mini nature experience- not the wilderness by any means, but a good chance to run around and enjoy the sunshine.  In the summer it should be beautiful.

And you get to see the water treatment plant!

The City’s “old nursery” site having outgrown it’s initial purpose made it’s transformation into the Conservation Park as a result of WSU student Angie Kenney’s Master Thesis; Environmental and Societal Benefits of Conserving Open Space: An in Depth Analysis and formal Park Proposal for Pullman, Washington. The Boy Scouts have improved trails and made the initial improvements to the entrance site at the western terminus of Darrow Street, Park staff added a pergola and volunteers from Windermere Realty installed the landscape. Cub Scouts have added plantings and a bench site overlooking the Palouse River. The future vision includes pedestrian connections to Cooper Basin, Military Hill and Grand Avenue Greenway.

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Filed under Free, Nature and Outdoors, Pullman Washington, Things to Do

Palouse Ice Rink (Moscow, Idaho)

Palouse Ice Rink

I have a theory:  we will look forward to winter if we get into some winter activities.  So, while we have yet to learn to snowshoe or cross-country ski (next year, I swear!), this winter we tried ice skating.

Interior (with an open end) of Palouse Ice Rink

The one ice rink here is Palouse Ice Rink.  It is located in the Rotary Veterans Memorial Pavilion at the Latah County Fairgrounds in Moscow, Idaho.  It is basically across the street from the Eastside Marketplace Shopping Center.

My older son (who is now 4) has been doing skating lessons, which have gone well.  Sign up for lessons through the Pullman or Moscow Parks and Recreation Department.  It is a bit expensive, but skates are included, as is a punch card for 6 open-skate visits.

Skating Lesson

Skating has been a nice cold weather thing to do.  I also like the idea of the boys knowing at least the basics of skating so that someday all four of us can go and all have a good time. (This year my 2 year old was really not quite ready, but I did see other kids that age enjoying skating.)

Skate Rental at Palouse Ice Rink

The Palouse Ice Rink has a lot of open skate times.  Check the schedule on their website:

http://www.palouseicerink.com/

It also has adult lessons in addition to kid lessons.

Because the rink has an open end, it is not open year round.  The website says ice skating season is typically late October to early April.  In the summer, I believe they do roller skating, including Roller Derby.  I will make sure to do a post on that this summer!

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Filed under Moscow Idaho, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing