Congratulations to Chip Andrus for submitting the winning photo “Bikepacking the John Wayne Pioneer Trail east of Marengo” taken at Iron Horse State Park to the Cool Adventures at Washington State Parks fall photo contest challenge. Washington State Parks Foundation (WSPF) invited photographers and state park lovers to share how they FALL in love with state parks as part of the WSPF Photo Contest. Chip’s photo was one of over 70 entries to the contest.
Read more about Chip and his winning photo below and join our community of talented photographers from across the state.
“In this photo I wanted to capture the expanse of sky and geology typical of the John Wayne Trail east of the Columbia River,” Chip explained. Meadowlarks, marmots, and deer are common here. The sounds of civilization are mostly absent with the main intrusion being the crunch of mountain bike tires on the gravel surface of the old railroad bed.” This photo was taken during a bikepacking trip with a friend. “Martin (featured in the picture) and I fast-toured the length of the eastern portion of the John Wayne Trail on mountain bikes in 2016, starting at the Columbia River and finishing the 210 miles to the Idaho border within 50 hours,” Chip said. The miles go down easy when accompanied by this grand scenery.
Chip appreciates the peace and open landscape on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail. “The solitude and emptiness of this arid landscape is the main draw for me. I ride sections of the trail often during the spring and early summer, especially where this picture was taken. It is the most isolated stretch of the route. This historic state-wide trail is a draw for outdoor lovers. “The JWPT east of the Columbia River includes the abandoned railway corridor for the now-bankrupt Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul Pacific Railroad. The trail starts at Rattlesnake Lake in the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains near North Bend and ends at the Idaho border near Tekoa. It is the longest rail trail in the country,” Chip shares. “Much of the trail east of the Columbia River tracks through channeled scablands that were sculpted and stripped of soil during the Missoula Floods that occurred tens of thousands of years ago. The hills blossom in the spring, desiccate by late summer, and settle into winter with a thin veneer of snow.”
Chip does most of his photography while traveling fast and light on a mountain bike and therefore uses a rugged camera that withstands bumps and rain. He doesn’t spend much time composing pictures and relies on lucky shots (being at the right place at the right time) to capture the magic of his trips. Learn more about other trips where Chip has combined photography with exploring wild areas on a mountain bike, including the JWPT at https://obscurus11.wordpress.com/.
Visit wspf.org/photo-contest to join the Washington State Parks Foundation photo contest and become a valued member of our valued photographer community.