The Palouse is a region of the northwestern United States, encompassing parts of southeastern Washington, north central Idaho and, in some definitions, extending south into northeast Oregon. It is a major agricultural area, primarily producing wheat and legumes. Situated about 160 miles north of the Oregon Trail, the region experienced rapid growth in the late 19th century, and at one time, the population of the Palouse surpassed even that of the Puget Sound area as the most populous region of the state. The region is home to two land grant universities, the University of Idaho in Moscow and Washington State University in Pullman. Located just eight miles apart, both schools opened in the early 1890s. Traditionally, the Palouse region was defined as the fertile hills and prairies north of the Snake River, which separated it from Walla Walla County. The peculiar and picturesque silt dunes which characterize the Palouse Prairie were formed during the ice ages. The Palouse River flows over this 197' waterfall into a rocky canyon. The water flow is heaviest during the spring run-off, from April-June, depending on the year. The surrounding area is rockier and drier than the undulating hills area to the east, providing unique photographic opportunities. The colors and textures of the Palouse hills are primarily influenced by the variable weather and the crops that blanket the fields. While there's a general progression of changes the appearance of fields over the course of a year, part of the fun of photographing the Palouse is that these patterns aren't set in stone and you can never be exactly sure what you'll see or what the light will be.