The Dunes near Pullman, WA is a recreational student hangout and a lot of fun. Dear daughter and I went on a hot day just prior to school’s beginning. It wasn’t at all what I expected. It was about 40 minutes away from the dorms and there was a big, switchback hill involved. To get to the Dunes, which are actually in the small town of Pomeroy, the county seat and the only town in Garfield County. You have to actually cross the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. The crossing itself was a surprise. I pulled up to the gate and the uniformed attendant wrote down my license number, then I was allowed to pull all the way up and he asked the nature of our visit (fun!) and if we had firearms (no!). We were told the speed limit on the dam was 15 miles per hour except where it was 5 mph and under no circumstance should we get out of the car or take photos/videos. Well, ok. The crossing itself was more like going through a work site, which I guess it is. The gate on the other side opened automatically. In doing some research, I see this over the dam road was actually closed for six years after 911, so I guess we are lucky to have the option at all. Obviously I have no photos, but here is a link to the Wikipedia entry. Here is the link from the US Army Corps of Engineers.
If you go to visit, be aware that the dam closes at 5 and then you have to go the long way home. And good luck with that since your phone won’t have reception!
So, back to the Dunes. There is a decent parking lot, a walk through the hilly sand (wear shoes the sand gets hot!) and then a large beach area which was fairly full. There were some enthusiastic college students playing and having a time and while I didn’t see drinking or drunkenness, I won’t have been surprised. But really, not a concern. The way the river flows in that area, one can walk out to almost 1/2 way across and be up to one’s waist. See those rocks in the top photo? They are people! And then there is an obvious drop. As much as I’d like to have actually gone swimming, I just wasn’t too sure about the drop. Nobody else crossed the line and I was worried about the current. Next time I’ll bring a floaty though, that looked like fun.
So, all in all it was a lovely way to spend a summer day and I got to visit with my daughter. After going back through the gated dam, we got back into town and then went to a movie and then out for ice cream. Really, what more could one want?