Umptanum Creek Falls Trail, Central Washington
Photo by Angie Quantrell
What a beautiful hike!
Whether spelled “Umptanum” or “Umtanum,” it was gorgeous! Here is the view from the bottom of Umptanum Creek Falls. The clamber down was pretty slicky-slidey in dirt, but worth the effort. The crawl back up was even more tenuous! I noticed someone had tied a rope between two points on the south climb back up around. We didn’t use it, but look for it if you choose that way to get back to the top of the falls (the way back to the car park).
Proof of the “Umptanum” spelling. No potties here, friends, so plan ahead.
Evidence of a previous fire lines both sides of the trail. I found the stark black a beautiful counterpoint to the spring greens and gray bark.
Umptanum Creek is such a pretty, quiet little stream!
From the bottom of the falls. We had a wet, drizzly day (perfect to my way of thinking), so it was pretty chilly sitting at the bottom while we enjoyed the view.
This is the view from the top of the falls. The wildflowers were out in abundance! Gorgeous!
Pretty scenery along the way. We didn’t encounter very many people on the way to the falls, but the crowd was picking up on our way back.
Just starting to bloom!
Also…DUH dum…this looks like stinging nettles. There were huge sections of this plant lining parts of the trail. Just a heads up. I double-checked my photo with online sources and they look the same to me. We hiked with poles, so it was easy to push back plants as we walked through.
Honey? I want this in my back yard!
The hardest parts of this trails were: 1. getting there (pretty, but long drive from Yakima on a dirt road); 2. getting back up the steep hillsides from the bottom of the falls; and 3. no potties.
You can read more about this hike at Washington Trails Association.
After church on Sunday, we dug out our hiking boots, backpack, and hats and drove up to the Tieton River Nature Trail. From Yakima, it’s a pretty quick drive, just a few miles up Highway 12 after the road splits into Hwy 410 and Hwy 12. We parked across from the Oak Creek Feeding Station (Discover Pass required).
For a first time out hiking this year, it was excellent. Not too much elevation gain, and the trail was mostly smooth but quite dusty. There are rocks and roots to watch for in a few sections, but overall the trail is in great shape. The canyon scenery was gorgeous, with the Tieton River rocking and rolling, and blue skies interspersed with puffy white clouds.
Now is the time to go! Spring wildflowers are peeking out! And, my personal favorite, the grass is barely greening and shooting up, so there is less tall grass to rub up against my legs and give me ticks! Cheatgrass is not an issue if you stay on the trail. Yuck.
Sunblock was a necessity, as usual. I’m not a huge fan of hiking into the wind, but it kept us cool. When the wind died down on certain sections due to canyon topography and stands of trees, it was quite warm.
We did not do the entire hike since we started out later in the day. We hiked over the first bridge near the feeding station and walked the trail past the quonset hut (it’s visible across the river) to the foot bridge. Whee! That was fun. I’m definitely a two-hands-holding-on type of person. And a one-person-at-a-time hiker. Lots of swinging and swaying. The metal bridge is pretty slippery on the southern end just as you get on, so beware that section.
We found a beaver-gnawed tree, saw and heard squabbling blue jays, watched an eagle soar up above the canyon walls, marveled at a group of rock climbers, enjoyed a tiny nut hutch scrambling up a tree (best guess), and wondered who left the plentiful berry-filled scat (and watched carefully in case we found the culprit). One bumblebee and a few flying insects rounded out our wildlife sightings.
Hikers can also park at the quonset hut a few miles west of the feeding station (Discover Pass required here as well).
We can’t wait to return and continue west of the quonset hut.
Read more about the Tieton River Nature Trail here.
Happy trails to you!
snow, ice, sunshine, warmth
orange green red harvest decor
fall and winter friends
two seasons clash in
yet time marches on
die, rest, rebirth, grow-
to repeat again, cycles
chase each other home
two seasons clash by Angie Quantrell
photo by Angie Quantrell
Yakima Valley, WA
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the pasture.
Due to needing my Christmas photo background early, we went tree hunting this month-November. With indoor trees, this is a big no-no, but since we will keep this tree outside of the RV, it will be perfectly fine and not pose a fire risk as it dries out.
My honey drove us up along Oak Creek Road in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Ready with our tree tag and saw in hand and mud boots on feet, we settled in to search for the perfect tree.
Before we hit the area where we could cut a tree, I noticed two big red blobs out in a meadow. Judging by the size, deer. Skinless and headless, left to rot. Ugh. Poachers. While I don’t personally hunt for meat, I understand some people enjoy the outdoor activity. In our state, hunters draw tags and their hunting helps control the numbers of herds roaming the forests. But to leave two carcasses and not use the meat was totally irresponsible. Grrrr.
On the way up the mostly deserted road, we saw a trail of smoke. From an untended campfire. Hoping that hunters or hikers were just out of view, we continued on our way, though I was fuming, because despite drenching rain, the fire was still smoldering. And we are just out of a horrific forest fire disaster of a summer. Even with the rain, fire is still a problem!
After 8.5 miles of rutted dirt roads and several “That one’s pretty good,” we finally found our tree. Though I tried to get Kevin to cut me a HUGE tree (heh-heh, wouldn’t that be funny, trying to drive down the road with a tree hanging off both ends of the truck?), we had to settle for a much shorter one. Cue the Christmas Vacation music.
We secured the sweet-smelling tree and headed back down the road. The fire was still going! Mr. Firefighter to the rescue. He literally got his hands dirty (the shovel was buried beneath the tree) to make sure it was dead. Good job, honey!
And much further down the road, we drove around a bend and startled a huge gathering of carrion birds! At least three bald eagles, numerous turkey buzzards, and magpies. All of them were enjoying the feast of deer meat. Whew. Nothing goes to waste in the wild, right? They were quite happy to take care of the deer carcasses. I imagine at night other predators would be drawn in-coyotes or wild cats.
A forest full of adventures. Here she is, our beautiful tree!