This morning, for the first of six times this year, many Washington State University football fans are waking up in or near Pullman and preparing for a 300-mile drive home to Western Washington.
Many of WSU’s alumni live in the Puget Sound area, meaning even home games are road games as far as they’re concerned. Even more challenging, for a decade now they’ve had to make those weekend road trips disappointed.
The Cougars haven’t had a winning season since 2003 and after already losing two games they were favored to win, this season doesn’t look very promising either.
But lucky for WSU fans, the cure for dealing with the stress of another tough season isn’t so different than that of making a road trip safe and little more entertaining.
Find a peaceful place and squeeze in a little exercise. (Well, that and a win in the Apple Cup.)
While the road to Pullman has a reputation for having little to offer, that’s not really the case.
Here are a few places you can stop for a little peace and quiet and a quick stress-busting workout:
On top of the quartzite formation, a sea of wheat and a patchwork quilt of other crops spread out beneath you. It might seem as if you can see forever from this perch 3,612-feet above sea level, but Washington State Parks says your view only reaches about 200 miles.
But beware of a few things before you take on this ride. The chip-sealed roads approaching the butte were brutal when I rode Steptoe in July. So bad, in fact, a woman I met at the top was pondering calling for a ride back home to Moscow, Idaho. I was happy to have a ride waiting. And the narrow road to the top isn’t great either. It looks like it’s about a decade overdue for resurfacing. Not a problem on the ride up, but stay alert on the way down.
GINGKO PETRIFIED FOREST
It’s still a workout, but it’s a workout that’s accessible to more people and more forgiving (both on the knees and those with sketchy route finding skills) on the way down. A grand opening ceremony for the trail is scheduled for 9 a.m., Sept. 27.