Friday, August 10, 2012

Omak, Washington

It was culture shock after we left green and mountainous British Columbia for dry and dusty Omak, located in north-central Washington. If you like sagebrush and jackrabbits, then this is your place.

The whole reason for going to Omak is because the famed Suicide Race was on my bucket list. The race is actually four races, each held after the daily rodeo at the annual Omak Stampede. Not knowing what was at the stampede, we arrived too early but we killed the day by taking in all the mostly Native American crafts and wares. And we enjoyed the Indian tacos!  I could eat those all day long and I think I tried to do just that.

Yum, no description necessary
At the end of the day, we took our seats in the arena and watched the various competitions taking place in the rodeo grounds. One of the rodeo clowns was Tim Vredenburg, from our very own Roseburg. The Suicide Race takes place after the rodeo so we watched it on the video screens and saw the racers when they crossed the finish line in the arena. It wasn't very satisfying, but we would get a better look at the race on the last day.

The wow in pow-wow

The next day, we returned to the Stampede grounds to take in the festivities at the   Omak Pow-wow. Lots of dancers, drums, and pageantry.  And more Indian tacos, too. This was the first day of the pow-wow and it was mostly dancing contests for the younger set.

We had been staying at the small town of Coulee Dam, and the main attraction there is Grand Coulee Dam. The dam is humongous, a massive wall of concrete straddling the Columbia River. The evening laser light show was on Dollie's list so we hiked to the dam and watched the dam laser show, the homonym is intentional.
Grand Coulee Dam (a part of) at night
Sasquatch and Sasquatch Jr.

On the way to Omak, the following day, we saw a Bigfoot on a ridge above the highway. We parked the car and surreptitiously hiked to a nearby vantage point. My pictures are incontrovertible proof that Bigfoot exists and it was quite a special privilege to get that close to the rare and reclusive hominid.

Last but not least, it was time to watch the Suicide Race. The race is a Native American horse race where the riders drop down an incredibly steep slope into the Okanogan River. The horses then swim/wade across the Okanogan followed by a 200 yard or so land race into the rodeo arena.  The race was an action packed 50 seconds and is definitely a contact sport.

That is one steep racetrack!

So that's it for the touristing portion of our vacation. Future posts will return to the more familiar milieu of hiking and cycling.

1 comment :

  1. I tried to post 3 times before already. I love your shots of the dancer and the dam, both beautiful. It's hard to believe the horses go down such a steep grade. Thank goodness for the soft landing in the water. Did you save me any Indian tacos? :) ..Betty