On Saturday, April 21, 2012, we drove the length of Washington State Route 172, from the farmlands in the middle of Douglas County to the farmlands in the northeastern part of Douglas County.
State route No. 172:
A state highway to be known as state route number 172 is established as follows:
Beginning at a junction with state route number 2 in the vicinity of Waterville, thence northerly and easterly by the most feasible route by way of Mansfield to a junction with state route number 17 in the vicinity of Leahy.
So here we begin, a dozen miles east of Waterville (that's "in the vicinity," right?) at the locale called Farmer. This is Highway 172's junction with US 2, also the county's Baseline Road. We haven't been here in a while. I recall snow on the ground that February.
Due north, we head "east." Straight north across the rolling fields. Don't doze off, though, because just after the town of Withrow, the highway dips and turns a bit to get across Dutch Henry Draw. But then it's back to heading north on the survey line. The highway curves east, however, just in time to get onto 14th Road, fourteen miles north of the baseline. A few miles of farmland after that, we curve around Lone Butte and reach the halfway point of Highway 172. Thus this photo looking down the hill eastward.
The farmland around these parts is scattered with erratics, large boulders carried here from Montana on icebergs. No, really. Ask a geologist. Highway 172 zig-zags through Mansfield, a very quiet town I spotted from the air four years ago and has been on my mind ever since. After more rolling fields with erratics galore, we arrive at the junction with SR 17, and thus the end of our drive. ...Eight miles south of Leahy at Sims Corner.
Highway 172 is one of those roads that I'm not entirely sure why it's a state highway, but I certainly enjoyed the relaxing drive.