Within the first year of Whitman, if not the first few weeks, every Whittie discovers the allure of the well-established Walla Walla wheat fields. After walking just ten minutes away from campus, one finds themself amidst rolling hills of tall grass. Ideal for picnics, dates, or an evening with friends and a guitar, the beauty of the wheat fields is no secret.
However, less known is the existence of the “upper wheat fields.” I myself regret that I did not discover this gem until my senior year. The upper wheat fields, or the Rooks Park lookout, is more difficult to encounter than the regular fields. However, this difficulty is well worth your time: it makes enjoying this spot all the more rewarding. In order to reach the upper wheat fields, drive to Rooks Park (about 10 minutes from campus), walk across a stunningly beautiful bridge, and proceed to climb an excruciatingly steep shoot. Climbing up this shoot entails clinging to roots for dear life, and sacrificing your clothing to massive amounts of dust. You know that I wouldn’t tell you to put yourself through this if there wasn’t a spectacular payoff.
Upon climbing up this “path,” you are met with a view like no other I have encountered in Walla Walla. Unlike the regular wheat fields, Rooks Park provides a view of the entire region. It allows one to see that the Whitman campus is nuzzled not just in the middle of the town of Walla Walla, but in a plane surrounded by mountains, agricultural land, rivers and lakes. Standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking this wonder for the first time, it pained me to think that Whitties can go their entire college experience without discovering this place.