Travelback Thursday | The Ancient Lakes

P1030316

A desert with lakes?

Have you ever seen a desert with lakes and a waterfall? Actually not just a waterfall, but a waterfall gracefully flowing into a lake? How can this place even be true? Well, it is and it’s gorgeously beautiful for hiking.

The long story behind the Ancient Lakes in Washington State began as far back as 40-60mln years ago, when the so called Grand Coulee was formed. It is a huge ancient river bed which belongs to the Columbia Plateau and its name (“coulée“) comes from French and means to strain/to flow (in a manner similar to lava).

To cut the long story short: the region is close to the Eastern edges of the Cascade mountains where a “Rain shadow effect” has created an area with very dry and hot climate. 

 

Rain Shadow Effect.png

Simultaneously, it is also a part of the Grand Culee which I mentioned earlier: a giant bedrock which kept uplifting and subsiding over the course of millions of years and has undergone a series of major volcanic eruptions, in areas which were later covered by glacial ice which subsequently cause massive floods in the area. Dynamic, isn’t it? No wonder it is such a fascinating place. Nowadays, there are huge irrigation distribution networks across the Columbia basin and the combination of all these factors gives you the ultimate hiking dream: a scorching desert with lakes and a waterfall.

The trail is located in Eastern Washington state, near Quincy and the basin of the Columbia River. I used to live in Seattle back then, so the Ancient Lakes were about a 3 hour ride away from home across Interstate 90.

On the way to the trail

Along I-90 there is a cool landmark which is really worth visiting. The steel horses of Grandfather lets loose the ponies can almost fool you from the distance.  The string of ponies is running towards the edge of a hill overlooking the Columbia River and it makes for a great side stop for photos along the way.

P1030239 (2)

The hike

 There are paths through the steppe and fairly easy to find passages along the rocky parts of the terrain. Make sure you have sturdy shoes and watch out for your balance because some of the softer types of rocks get easily broken when you step on them.
P1030260
The Ancient Lakes area spreads over 15,000 acres and although some spots seem to be really close- the terrain can get tricky and slow you down. What looks like a 15 min walk might take you more than an hour in some areas.
P1030272.JPG

Continue reading “Travelback Thursday | The Ancient Lakes”

Imola | Visiting the monument of Ayrton Senna

On May 1st, 1994 Ayrton Senna – one of the all time legends of Formula 1- tragically died on the Imola racing track in Italy. I was too young to remember when it happened, but my boyfriend (as men usually do) is really into sports and clearly recalls where he was and how he learned about it. He is a very big fan of Senna so on our trip to Bologna, Imola was part of the Must-see list.

The small Italian town, which hosts one of the most (in)famous racing tracks is just a 30 minute train ride away from Bologna Centrale (train tickets vary depending on the type of train and the most “busy hours” but tickets should be around 6 EUR in one direction).

13246362_10156936074295503_1774120125521853954_o

The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari is about a 20min away from the train station across the bridge over river Santerno: a pleasant walk across the Imola city center and its outskirts filled with lovely Villas and cosy gardens.

 There are many signs on the road which make it quite easy to find: you pretty much take Viale Andrea Costa from the train station and continue straight as the street merges into Via Appia,  which takes you to the bridge across the river from where you can clearly see the park.

 

You cross a small underpass with beautiful graffitti drawings and from there you just follow the many signs and small maps showing the way to the Ayrton Senna monument. Some 10-15 minutes into the park there is a statue build close to the fatal turn where he lost his life.

 

It is a very emotional place: the whole area around the monument is covered with  flowers, flags, t-shirts, photos, posters, hats, etc with the name and face of Senna and handwritten notes by his fans, saying he will stay forever in their hearts. 

Continue reading “Imola | Visiting the monument of Ayrton Senna”