Riding river roads north from the Columbia's southern swing is to fight a flow of beauty washing into your every sense, inviting you to stop and gaze, dazed and amazed. Climbing the Klickitat on Washington 142 from Lyle to Goldendale on a green May day, especially with almost no other cars around to hurry you, can take a while.
The river ran hard that day, swollen with silt, foaming at the mouth of each eddy. Late wet snow feeding a good flow, lupines a-blooming and the hillsides not yet be-browned, summer's scorch safely at bay for a while yet. The oaks of Klickitat at that fleeting delicacy when the leaves are full but still soft and the bugs haven't really punched in.