Bella and I have been going to the Rocks of Sharon since she’s been old enough to hike.
In about a half hour from the Stevens Creek trailhead in Valleyford, we are at the Big Rock with a view that takes you miles and miles and miles into the Palouse.
The Palouse, ripe with canola blossoms this time of year, is one of the Seven Wonders of Washington State, featured in Howard Frisk’s book of the same name.
In summer, the rolling hills are lush with green grass and yellow canola. Once the hills have been farmed, they are a dusty brown.
The area, particularly the more southern end of the Palouse near Pullman, is often littered with landscape photographers conducting workshops and teaching other people with cameras how to shoot the magical Palouse.
The Rocks of Sharon are too far north for them but not for Spokane hikers.
The Rocks of Sharon are a busy place
The trail connects to the Iller Creek trail, which is an extremely popular trail, considering the trailhead is a central location for Spokane Valley.
Whichever trailhead you want to start from, it’s always a good idea to check the Spokane County security cameras before heading out to see if there’s any parking available. Unless you’re up at the ass crack of dawn, the answer is typically “no” at Iller Creek.
Once you get to the Big Rock, you don’t have to go any farther to get an epic view of the Palouse.
But you can.
You can go up the hill some more to find another view, then up to the TV towers for another view, loop down to the Iller Creek trail to find another view and then head back to the rocks for a rest.
From the Stevens Creek trailhead, you can hit a max of 3.5 miles or 7.5, whatever you and your dog are up for. We did the whole loop for our Bloomsdog route this year and with the way Bella likes to go off trail, we probably got closer to 9 miles.
It isn’t easy hiking but it isn’t difficult either.
A great place for epic dog photos
Big rocks. Big. Ass. Rocks.
Need I say more?
There are two best times to hit the Rocks of Sharon for a photo shoot with your dog: first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.
A sunrise session will yield something truly amazing with the sun breaking over the Selkirk mountains in the distance.
An evening session will give us incredible, gentle colors in the sky, reflecting off the sunset in the west which we are nowhere near. We cannot see the setting sun at my favorite rocks but Mother Nature treats us to cotton candy ambient colors in the sky above.
Oh but wait … any time of day works when I pack my lighting gear up the hill. And, dammit, you know I will.
The same dress for everyone
I joined Same Dress Spokane this year.
It’s a collective formed by local photographer Rachel Fellows. She organizes 10 or so photographers and we each take turns shooting a model with a dress of Rachel’s choosing.
It’s a different dress every year. Most of the photographers grab a model – like an actual model – to pose and bend and contort.
I called on my tiny friend Jolene and her dog Eena – well, of course my shot is going to have a dog in it … DUH! – and she was game.
More rocks. More bigass rocks!
I knew the moment I saw the dress that I wanted the Palouse, its canola fields and a big sky as my backdrop. We had a practice run at one of my other favorite spots, the Spokane River at Post Falls Community Forest, but the winning shot comes from the Big Rock.
Here’s the fun part. We all have to keep our images secret until we all have a big reveal on the same day.
That’s on Friday, August 5, and I wish it was tomorrow! (I am one of the least patient people you will ever encounter when it comes to some things, especially things like this.)
You can follow along for sneak peeks and other news on the Same Dress Spokane Facebook page.
All around the circle
Thanks for taking a trip to the Rocks of Sharon with me. Some days, I will do the hike with Bella and no camera.
I know, right? It just sounds weird.
She deserves to have a break from working as a professional dog model, even though she is The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.
While you’re waiting for the big Same Dress reveal, though, take a trip around the world in our international pet photographers blog circle. Clicking through will take you to magical places like Andorra, Sacramento and Raleigh, North Carolina.
Start with a trip to St. Cloud, Minnesota, and an awesome park for a session and location spotlight with About A Dog Photography!
When you get to the bottom of Cahlean’s post, click the link for the next post in the blog circle. Keep that up on everyone’s post until you find yourself back here with the epic views at Rocks of Sharon.
That’s when you know you’re home.
Right where you belong.
And when you’re ready to get some badass portraits of you and your dog at this incredible location, hit me up.