grizzled and gnarled,
you lichened, weathered, old man;
desert strong sagebrush
gnarled by Angie Quantrell
Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Valley, Washington State
It’s official. This writer/editor/crafter/Nana is a bit out of shape. At least for what my phone termed as 55 flights of stairs.
Our afternoon hike yesterday on the Cowiche Canyon hike was gorgeous. Pretty nice on the way across the uplands and down the steep hill to the canyon floor. Pretty sweaty and filled with loud gasps and burning muscles on the way back up and over.
But a good time was had by all two of us.
We started on Summitview Extension, parking in the last available spot. It is a small lot, really a parking pad. Then up, over, and through the sagebrush and blooming spring flowers we went.
Yes! There were so many desert flowers blooming-purple, yellow, white, chartreuse. Because we had lovely, sunny weather, the lighting was quite overpowering for taking photos, but try I did.
We followed the Summitview Trail. Since the trail loops and swirls all over, it’s possible to wander for hours. We decided to hook left on the Radio Flyer Trail. This really does wind through the sagebrush but leads all the way down to the Cowiche Canyon floor by way of the Lone Pine Trail. Do note, the trailhead at the bottom headed up the hill looks deceptively simple. That’s where we managed to rack up flights of stairs. I wore regular tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more traction in the slippery dirt and ankle-twisting rocks. (I avoided the rocks, but did slip a few times.)
Our hike was over 3 miles and took us about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. I’ll say it’s because I stopped often to take pictures. But I also stopped often on the way up the hill to breathe.
We even had an “attempted” Sasquatch sighting! Oh, the silly things one does to have fun.
The Cowiche Canyon is a great location for exploring close to home (Yakima Valley). Once we were up over the hill of Summitview Extension, traffic noise disappeared and we could hear only ourselves and the occasional fellow hiker. NOW is a great time to visit. Mud was not an issue at all, wildflowers are blooming, rattlesnakes are sleeping, and heat and ticks are not yet an issue.
Go. Now. Just please. If you are a dog owner, clean up the poop.
Happy New Year, friends!
We’ve decided to make hiking the Cowiche Canyon an annual event. We hiked it last January 1st and made a return trip today. It’s becoming very popular!
May the Lord bless you and your family in this new year of a new decade.
I might be slow, but I finally figured out why all the New Year’s Eve parties were 20s themed. May your 2020 be filled with roaring good fun and great health!
This past (YAY) winter has left this bod in serious cabin fever shape.
It’s true. Being cooped up inside with record snowfalls does nothing for a hiking physique. I did spend quite a bit of time shoveling, but that exercise was offset by hiding inside away from frigid temps.
Take my walk today, for instance. Huffing and puffing, sweating and trudging at a snail’s pace, the summer hiking season seemed far from my grasp. After all, actual hiking is done up and down, over hill and dale.
That’s when I realized my self needed spring cleaning. Some sprucing up, working out, and trimming off the fat.
Spring cleaning is coming to this future outdoors woman.
Walking around the yard, I noticed several casualties of the heavy snow and resulting compact ice. Funny smiling face? Busted. Sage in clay pot? Needs repotting to an undamaged pot. Siberian irises in a similarly disintegrating pot? Same treatment. Gravel strewn every which way due to shoveling of snow.
Spring cleaning extends to the garden and surrounding yard.
It also includes the cat, Monet, who is sporting more of a tummy due to forced lack of exercise, and her favorite pastime-hunting. It’s hard to hunt or pursue any fun activities when snow accumulations are higher than your head! The one time she tried, well, it was hysterical and a very fast trip. Monet is in much need of a tune up.
Spring cleaning has arrived for the cat.
The good news is she caught her ‘second’ first mouse of the season today. We thought spring was on the way in late January and early February. That was when she ate her first mouse of the year. And then Snowmageddon. There was much lying around, racing through the RV, climbing the walls, and sleeping on fuzzy blankets.
Inside the RV, blankets and rugs have been washed. Carpets love their new vacuumed look and floors appear a shade lighter after being mopped. Excess items are disappearing from cluttered sight. Spring cleaning is happening all over the place.
Let’s chat just a bit about the honey. In his jammies. And plastic shoes. Right now. Out smashing down mole hills all over the pasture. This mole has been a busy beaver, leaving a winding lane of black dirt mountains across the field. Soooo, honey does his spring cleaning by paying attention to signs of the season.
Spring cleaning comes to the Yakima Valley.
How about you? Have you enjoyed spring cleaning? What’s your favorite spring cleaning task?
November 17 was National Take a Hike Day. In our neck of the woods (quick quiz: who is famous for using that phrase?), the weather was clear, blue skies sparkled, and the temps were brisk but not frigid. It was a perfect day for a near-winter hike.
Er, walk. I did something to my back and have been experiencing excruciating pain for most of the day. I suspect an odd twist, weird picking up of a grand, or hauling heavy laundry through tight RV doors. So we walked, not hiked.
Any-who, my honey and I went to the Cowiche Canyon near Yakima, Washington. It’s been on our list and ‘something else’ has consistently popped up and blocked us from this destination. There are so many more options for hiking the canyon now than when we first starting hiking at this location. One can scramble up rock cliffs, stroll along cliff edges, amble above canyon level through sage brush hillsides, or take the path through the base of the canyon. Fantastic!
Who knew, but wildlife is abundant in this practically in town outdoor area. Warning signs hint at cougars and bears. It goes without saying that rattlesnakes will be present (just keep walking). This is central Washington after all. Due to the cold temperature, I wasn’t too concerned about snakes. For our walk, we heard quail and various bird calls. Rustling in the bushes made us wonder, but they were tiny rustles. And with the other humans and their dogs, wildlife was probably running for dear life.
Due to my back woes, we took the slow path from the east canyon entrance. No trails up and down the cliffs, highlands, or even to the end of the canyon. There was even a sign pointing towards wineries, which we did not take, but still! In the middle of a nature hike, an adult venture. LOL We took the easy jaunt on a nice path through the canyon, skirting the Cowiche Creek, checking out beaver dams, listening to the burbling water. It was a lovely day to take a hike.
There are so many outdoor options around Cowiche Canyon. This destination hike is definitely on our list for future outings. Read more about Cowiche Canyon here.
How about you? Did you “take a hike”?
shaggy head, bearded
swaying, stretching for the sky
little men lined up
shaggy by Angie Quantrell
It’s Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge day! How about sharing a haiku about something you see in nature?
We first met 40 years ago today, Labor Day, at the Wapato Harvest Festival parade.
Newly arrived from Arizona, I didn’t know many people. He had lived in Wapato for nearly all his life. We came face to face in front of the pastor’s house on the “Ave” where church members and assorted tag-a-longs gathered to watch the parade before heading to the city park for rides, games, and food.
Tall, thin, curly-haired; my impression was of a ‘cool’ guy who couldn’t be bothered to chat with a short, sun-kissed non-native. By his report, he was cool but thought I was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.
We made slow progress at first. His mom suggested he take me to the homecoming dance. “Nope.” So I went with my cousin from Seattle who was immediately the hottie everybody wanted.
Come spring, our relationship was growing in earnest and we became a couple. At least for a few months. Then I took a year off during our junior year. But like bees to honey, we were back together for senior year.
Off I went to Western Washington University, with the claim that, “If we can survive 4 years apart for college, we can survive anything.” My guy burned the road up between Wapato and Bellingham (4 1/2 hour drive one way), coming to see me every other weekend. Sometimes I traveled back home but then he had to share me with everyone. Back before cell phones and computers (I KNOW! Gasp!) we had a code phone call ring. To avoid the charges of our dorm phone, he would call, let it ring twice, then hang up. That was our good-night check-in. We did talk on the phone, but not much. We spent much of our time writing letters back and forth. Boxes of notes, cards, and creative tomes of love…if I had spent that much time studying…
In June of 1985, we became Mr. and Mrs. This was just a new beginning to our life of adventure, starting right off by driving to So Cal and Disneyland (giving our parents a heart-attack). Our honeymoon was the first of many on-the-road journeys Mr. and Mrs. enjoyed and plan to enjoy.
Two babies, five grandchildren, furry pets, revolving jobs, and numerous trips, houses, and escapades, we are still best friends and more in love each day. Sure there have been struggles and explosive moments, but we’ve stayed committed to each other. It’s wonderful to have a best friend and partner standing beside you on the journey, one who knows all your faults and fears and how you look in the morning (or after childbirth or surgery or the stomach flu) and who still loves you and takes you on dates and hiking in the mountains and on motorcycle rides and finishes your sentences or phrases cloned from favorite movies.
40 years of labor (of a different sort) and here we are today. Best friends, lovers, partners in crime. God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. And we’ve kept Him busy taking care of us ever since.
To my best friend.
We ‘hiked’ the trail at Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserves on Saturday.
Where: Seven miles north of Selah, just south of mile post 3 on SR 821, or as locals know it, the Yakima Canyon Road (slightly northeast of Selah)
Distance: RT about 2.5 miles, if you go all the way to the cattle guard and fence that signals the Military Firing Center boundaries
Discovery Pass Required: Yes, though many parked beyond the nature preserve lot on the old canyon road
Tips: No toilet facilities and not much shade; Bring binoculars, bug spray, water, and hat
This is a local, easy hike with the hardest parts being concern for ticks, rattlesnakes, and heat. The views of the Selah Cliffs are gorgeous. As per signed instructions, we didn’t traipse off the path, which means we also didn’t see the basalt daisies for which the area is known. Judging by the trails leading up to the basalt cliffs, I’m sure some disregard rules. OR they could be game trails. Yes, I’ll go with that.
The hike/walk leads along a gravelled path for most of the distance. Towards the far end (headed east), hikers must go through a barbed-wire gate. After that, the gravel disappears and more clambering is required. During the entire hike east, we watched the Fred G. Redmon bridge loom ever larger and closer. Soon enough, we stood beneath the massive structure and listened to vehicles boom overhead. It was fascinating to look, listen, and call aloud. If you stand in just the right spot, your voice will echo back. I tried recording the echo, but there was too much interference.
We saw and heard a waterfall, but couldn’t get through the underbrush to get close. Plentiful birds, spiders, insects, lizards, and evidence of other wildlife kept us searching and entertained. The scenery was gorgeous, the basalt columns beautiful, and amazingly, the traffic overhead was negligible.
Two thumbs up!
Mosquitoes. There will be MOSQUITOES. And dirt. Sometimes horse and deer flies. Plan accordingly. Wear bug repellent (we are still out on this – both of us want something more organic and less toxic). We were hit hard when we got out of the car. After a quick rethink, we jumped back in the car, put on boots, covered up, and got back out to spray. Still managed to get 3 bites.
Long hair. If you have this, wear it down – hot or not! Mosquitoes loved the back of my neck, despite my hat and shirt. So I let my hair down and spread it through the sweat which glued it in place. Immediate relief!
Hats. Wear them. I wore my tightly woven sun protection hat with a wide brim. Shade and bug protection.
Long pants. Wish we had them. Still have a few scrapes from branches growing over the path. I’m sure this isn’t the only trail with opportunities for clambering over rocks and tree roots.
Water. Our hike wasn’t too long but was strenuous and the sweat flowed freely. We had 2 bottles each, which was enough for the short hike. Had we stayed longer at the lake, we would’ve needed more.
Snacks. Of course. Good stuff to chomp on is part of the fun of hiking! Nuts, whole grain crackers, jerky, trail mix, protein bars…I always underestimate how much my honey needs to eat. Me? I could outlast several weeks of restricted calories, but his high metabolism requires regular and high calorie fuel.
Maps. We had general directions from a flyer found at the Ranger station and we still managed to park in the wrong spot. It seems it was the correct location though, when I researched AFTER our hike, due to previous road washouts. Hint: The flyer suggested elevation gains, time estimations, distances, and trail popularity. Some of this was NOT true. For instance, family friendly. We did not find this trail to be safe for younger hikers. This was agreed upon by another family (with elementary children and an elderly chap). Maybe they should define family friendly. Take information like this with a grain of salt.
Snow. While we did not encounter snow, the lake was very full and there were no places to get close to the water unless one was IN the water or on floating logs. Take into account the previous winter. We had record snowfall. That means lakes will be full to overflowing. Snow may still be on the trails. Mud will be present.
Do not give up! We passed few other hikers, so the Glacier Lake hike was perfect for solitude (I missed wearing a bear bell, though, and we constantly scanned for evidence and escape routes – many shredded snags convinced us that big claws had enjoyed plentiful grubs and bugs). Once we arrived at Glacier Lake, huge (bigger-than-my-car sized) boulders blocked the path. We made two different attempts to get over them to the water, but my legs were too short. In defeat, we headed back. Only a short while later we met a young family (baby in backpack, so backpacking with child in tow counts as family friendly). They discovered a trail to the lake edge and two rough camping spots. They filled us in and we headed back to the lake. Don’t be afraid to ask and share info with other hikers.
Glacier Lake Hint: When you get to the boulders, you will instinctively want to go straight through them to the water. Don’t. There are many false trails over the rocks. Instead, look LEFT and you will see the trail continuing around the edge of the boulders. LOL. It’s obvious once you know.
Hiking is our respite from crowds, technology, and stress. We learn something new on every hike. We can’t wait to get back out on the trails!
Would you like your adventure now or should we have our tea first?
~ J.M. Barrie
While celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary last week, we experienced what I have tagged a Sea to Ski holiday. In our area, there is a Ski to Sea athletic event, and we certainly engaged in exercise during portions of our explorations, but nothing up to iron man/woman or triathlon levels. Not even close.
Fun, fast, feast, foray. That’s was our goal.
Sea = Day 1 Trip to Seattle
We dined on extremely tasty blackened cod tacos and salad at Salty’s on Alki. We walked along the beach, rode the water taxi across the bay to the Seattle waterfront, hiked the Pike Street Hill Climb, enjoyed clam chowder at Ivar’s, and scoured an antique store for a tiny glass bottle. Parking was just fine at Salty’s and the water taxi was a treat.
Ski = Day 2 Trip to Mt. Rainier
Technically, we did not ski. But we hiked in the mountains. And saw plenty of snow. We parked at Ohanapecosh Campground and hit the trail leading through the hot springs, past Silver Falls, discovered a new trail (for us) to the Grove of the Patriarchs, and totalled over 6 up and down miles. About 60 floors in elevation gains, according to my Iphone. For hot days, this was perfect, as most of the trail was shade covered, gorgeous, and green.
Ride = Day 3 Motorcycle Loop
To make up for the hiking, we sat on the bike to see the sights. We traveled up Highway 410, gazed at the packed snow and ice gracing the top of Chinook Pass, followed Highway 123 to Highway 12, and returned through Naches to make a loop ride. We took the back road around Clear and Rimrock Lake. There was no lack for beauty, but it was getting pretty hot by the time we completed the ride.
Watch = Day 4 Movie to Beat the Heat
As per suggested temps of 100, we hit the theater to take in the new Pirates movie. We both loved this episode as it tied in to the original three. AND we avoided the gagging heat.
All in all, we had a fantastic anniversary holiday, me and my honey. The northwest is full of gems, just ready for exploring.
Where do you love to go? All ideas are welcome…next trip is just around the corner.