Photo by Angie Quantrell,
Near Fort Simcoe, Central Washington
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!
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.
you flutter and flit
blossom landings, flower sip,
whispers of beauty
flutter by Angie Quantrell
Even in the mountains of Central Washington, with no evidence of water, dry dusty soil, and an abundance of rocks and weeds, beauty is on display. Towering pines, blooming wildflowers, and clouds of butterflies floating and feasting on the myriad of blossoms wrap viewers in a blanket of peace. The sightings make the steep bumpy road worth enduring.
S – shows of life, green carpeted paths
P – peek at bursts of color, winters’ grays fade away
R – renewed vigor, earth joyfully bursts forth
I – invitation to celebrate, cold passes as warmth returns
N – nature dons her new attire, fresh and vibrant
G – growing time arrives, rest is over for bounty begins