Our shiny new car was just itching to take us on an adventure, so we made a mental list of all the places to go. Snowshoeing was out because of avalanche danger. How far should we go? Should we go on Friday and stay over a couple of days? What meetings did we have--when would we have to be back? Then I remembered the Sandhill Cranes and checked to see if they would be in the Othello area at this time. Sure enough, the Sandhill Crane Festival was last weekend, but the cranes spend three to four weeks in the wetlands there as a stopover on their annual migration. So Othello it was.
So you would think that will all the information that I had printed off from the internet--such as this Seattle Times article and this information from the Wildlife Refuge, and our collection of maps and guides, locating some 25,000 four foot tall red-headed birds known to be pretty noisy would be a piece of cake. Now really! But the only piece of cake was what I packed for a snack.
So, after fortifying ourselves with a hearty lunch in Othello, we set off down the road toward the wildlife refuge where the cranes were known to be residing.
We saw this airliner taking off behind the coulee. The airport at Moses Lake is a center for commercial pilot training.
We hiked down into the wetland.
And on we went and back toward Othello in a loop past farmlands of the Mid-Columbia region.
More to follow! Part 2 is here.