After visiting family in western Washington for most of the holiday, J and I ended our Thanksgiving weekend by revisiting one of our old outdoor haunts in eastern Washington — the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area’s Quincy Lakes Unit. My dad, the only member of my immediate family who has not been affected by the recent rounds of sickness that have quarantined the rest of his household, drove out to join us for some camping and outdoor-time. While he and J found a spot to do some target-shooting, I took Ziggy on a long meander around the area’s pothole lakes and basalt cliffs.
Hiking the Ancient Lakes Trail down to Judith Pool Falls, I was dismayed to see graffiti on one of the nearby cliff faces. This photo may be too small to see it properly, but in person the tagging was both obvious and depressing:
I came home to Boise at the end of the weekend to find that the greenbelt trail near our apartment had also been tagged pretty severely over the holidays. Some trailside maps were defaced, and the section of pavement the city just finished putting in was spray-painted in several spots with the words, ‘Fuck the System.’ It made me want to yell at somebody. I mean, who does this? Who are their parents? Do they even know what part of the System they want to fuck? Or, for that matter, why they want to fuck it? How does defacing public land and public walking trails make life better for anybody?
An age or two ago I had a job with the federal government, cleaning up illegal dump-sites on public lands, and I could write a pretty long rant on this topic. I won’t, though. At least, not today. For the most part the trip to Quincy Lakes reminded me why I love the place. It’s so quiet there in the winter. A lot of people like to camp there in the spring and summer when the entrance gates are open to vehicles, but in the winter you have to walk in. When we were there this last weekend, the place was deserted. The fog hung around the cliffs and the cattails in the old, eerie, familiar way. Hoar frost hung from all the vegetation, and the whole landscape was a palette of greys, browns, and tans. These are some other photos I took that day: