After coming off of a great visit to the Wild Horse and Solar Facility I was ready to see some petrified trees. I had drove past the Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park many times throughout my life but had never had a chance to stop. Today I would finally have that chance because I was driving and wasn’t my former child self stuck in a car longingly looking out the window wishing we could stop as we zipped by (again)…
Boomer and I pulled into the parking lot of the visitors center and I found something upsetting. The visitor center was closed! Although there are interpretive signs outside around the visitors center this was quite disappointing.
I was able to walk Boomer on a leash around the park so he and I took in a few signs and checked out the petrified wood that was scattered along the landscape.
We also found some Native American petroglyphs but nothing really stating if they were found at this location or if they had been moved there, just that they were petroglyphs.
My friend Jen is a big fan of this park and when I told her the visitor center was closed her response was “that’s the best part”. So I guess I will have to make another trip back one day.
After my incomplete tour of the visitor center I decided to drive down the highway about 2 miles and take a tour of the “Trees of Stone” trail head. I took Boomer with me and we began to hike up the trail in the blazing sun. I soon realized I was over dressed as my forehead began to “sparkle”.
With the sun beating down overhead I also found that this trail would probably be best viewed on an overcast day as the petrified wood was visible but unfortunately behind metal grates that were casting a shadow onto the wood making it difficult to see them and/or take a decent photo.
Boomer and I headed back to the truck. The visit was a bit of a bust. Yes we got to see some petrified trees but we had very little context of park and it would have made the visit much more enjoyable.
We drove back towards the highway and Boomer was panting heavy due to the heat. I felt bad for the little guy.
I pulled into a gas station to grab myself a water and asked the attendant if there was a local watering hole I could take my dog to. Luckily there was a boat launch just down the street that Boomer would be able to cool himself off in the Columbia River.
I parked the truck and unloaded Boomer letting him run joyfully to the water. Sometimes while traveling with your pet you need to make allowances for them, give them a little “me time”. We played in the water for about 30 minutes. I stood in the water about calf deep throwing a stick for Boomer who was having the time of his life.
After some time of him swimming Boomer adopted an odd behavior. He would swim out to fetch the stick, swim back to shore, drop the stick off for me and then stand awkwardly on a small patch of grass that was in the water but near the shoreline.
I kept throwing the stick for a while but it was getting later and we needed to move on so I grabbed Boomer as he was distracted trying to get to the grass patch. I suddenly realized why he was standing on the patch of grass. He was shivering and he kept coming back to the patch of grass to get himself out of the water as much as he could but refused to stop swimming. Geeze Boomer – hypothermia isn’t worth that!
I assumed the water’s temperature must have drastically dropped where I was throwing the stick out to because where I was standing in the water was really quite delightful. I packed up our belonging and will now add bringing a dog towel with me on my list of travel needs. Boomer does a pretty good job of shaking the water off but sometimes he needs to get out of the water first.
If you would like to visit the Ginkgo Petrified Forest they are located at 4511 Huntzinger Rd Vantage, WA 98950. Take exit 136 off of I-90. The park is open in the summer from 6:30 am to dusk. November 1st to March 1st the park is open 8am to dusk on weekends and holidays.