Palouse II


Known for its picturesque, steep, undulating hills, ‘The Palouse’ encompasses the Palouse River watershed rising west out of north-central Idaho’s Blue Mountains to southeastern Washington State, where it turns south emptying into the Snake River.

The unique Palouse region was formed 30 million years ago as the Pacific Plate was pushed beneath the North American Plate, creating a chain of volcanoes that forced molten rock to erupt from cracks in western Oregon’s and Washington’s crust to form the Columbia Plateau basalts.  Twenty million years later, the modern Cascade Range lifted up. Two million years ago, glaciers scoured the Pacific NW, generating volcanic silt (“loess”). Prevailing SW winds covered the Palouse’s lava floor with dunes as high as 200’ of wind-blown volcanic silt, resulting in the most fertile land in the northwest.

Lush grasslands provided prime winter grazing for the Nez Perce Indians’ painted ponies, the Appaloosas, until dry land farmers overran this land in the 1880’s. Contour-farming this fertile land for wheat and lentel beans, as high up the slopes as machinery allowed, the varying “painted” shapes have since traced these contours with the seasons’ beautiful patchwork.

Even more visually intriguing than from ground level, this landscape viewed from an isolated 1,000’ high quartzite ‘hill’, Steptoe Butte, offers spectacular aerial views of the Palouse hills.

Contour Farming<br>Palouse II - 2011 Converging Hills<br>Palouse II - 2011 Winter Wheat<br>Palouse II - 2011 Early Winter Wheat<br>Palouse II - 2011 Spring Green<br>Palouse II - 2011 Contra Contour<br>Palouse II - 2011 Early Spring<br>Palouse II - 2011 Spring Palette<br>Palouse II - 2011