Photo by Angie Quantrell
A few weeks back, we went for a hike around Lake Easton. It was a gorgeous day with both shady and sunny sections. If only we had our swimsuits, we could have jumped in the lake to cool off!
The above picture is of the bridge visible from I-90. If one travels east first, this is at the end of the hike. You can just see the trail bridge across the lake along the Palouse to Cascades Trail (near center, whitish line along the water).
We started out at the picnic area/day use portion of the Lake Easton State Park (Discover Pass required). It wasn’t too crowded when we got there and we managed to get a great parking spot. But beware late arrivals when the weather is warm! When we got back from the hike, the parking lot was crammed, people were circling looking for spots, and the beach area was wild. The better plan is to arrive early.
The directions I found were a bit vague-I love well-posted hikes with good signs. But alas, we did not get lost. We wondered once or twice but just kept going. And once we were headed towards Ellensburg on the Palouse to Cascades Trail, but we didn’t get too far before we realized we were headed east instead of west. (Once you pass through Easton, you must head back west to circle the lake.)
Starting at the beach/picnic area right on the lake, we walked east, following a sort of general trail. Which proved to be correct. The Kevster, my honey, is walking along the tree-lined trail above. The surprise was when we had to climb a hill, which we did not notice as we drove in.
Follow the trail past the lake. It will eventually go past the lake and meander right beside the Yakima River as it exits Lake Easton. Pretty cool!
We passed the Yakima River two times. Once, as seen above, is right past the eastern end of the lake. The other is on the opposite end of the lake, where the Yakima River enters Lake Easton!
After the riverside trail leads you back to the main road, Lake Easton Road, hang right and walk back across the bridge and through Easton. Once you are through Easton, follow the signs to the Palouse to Cascades Trail (a right turn on Cabin Creek Road).
I’m standing between the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad tracks. Continue over the tracks, easing right (not left like we did at first) around another corner and you will see a sign leading you to the Palouse to Cascades Trail. It looks like a road. Great for walking!
And a tunnel! I love tunnels, particularly ones I can see through without too much difficulty.
I love this picture!
And then this! A very cool trail bridge over the Yakima River! On the right side you see the beginning of the lake, on the left is the Yakima River. Just think, this river flows all the way down to my valley!
Lake Easton, looking north. I-90 is right behind the trees along the northern edge of the lake.
The Yakima River
The obligatory selfie with my honey.
Continue over the trail bridge for just a short distance and follow the signs on the right to travel along the western edge of the lake, looping back around the lake. Keep going and you will pass an old concrete bridge. This location is usually full of swimmers, fishers, and boaters! We saw all three. And you can see it at the bottom of the big hill as you drive east from Seattle on I-90.
We walked through the campground, trying to avoid the main road. Which didn’t work the whole way, but it was fine. Pretty soon we were back to the car, already imagining hiking further along the Palouse to Cascades Trail towards the top of the pass (but maybe not the whole 18 miles in one day!).
This is a beautiful hike, and interesting because of the scenery changes.
Just look at all of that corn, beans, and radishes!
Oh. Wait. You can’t see anything but a few stems and missing row of radishes. That’s because we have invaders. Of the rabbit-y sort. The ones who LOVE almost everything in my garden: corn, radishes, green beans, parsley, kale (they really adore kale), and another leafy green similar to chard. All gone.
Plus. Holes. They love excavating as well. I think they can smell the new corn kernel seeds I planted, because several holes line up exactly where I replanted (and replanted).
Ignore the weeds. I gave up in frustration.
We have bunnies (formerly known as pets). People have dumped them. So now between the neighbors and us, we have a colony. A fluffle. We are happy that most of them live beneath the neighbor’s outbuildings (while 4 live at Taylor and Jamie’s as actual pets). But the green pasture is alluring. And the used-to-be growing garden a delight.
Two black bunnies edge nearer to the the pot of gold at the end of the garden rainbow. Grrrrr.
So today. Take that. And that. And THAT!
We installed a bunny barrier. It’s not tall, but we only need to deter Peter Rabbit, Cottontail, Flopsy, Mopsy, Benjamin, and their buds from free ranging the garden beds. We hope.
The question is, besides onions, garlic, basil, several chocolate cherry sunflowers, a few green beans, and a marigold or two, what is there time to replant (time number 4 for some items) that will mature before the frost?
Sigh. It was looking so good! Grumble grumble. Back to the drawing board.
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.
summer fairy house
make-believe play at the beach
move-in ready pad
crash! whoosh! boom! a storm
thunders through, rearranges-
fixer upper sale
beach house for sale by Angie Quantrell
photos by Angie Quantrell, Ocean Shores, WA