The dogs and I spent this morning exploring the uplands of Cowiche Canyon. Cowiche Canyon is a 2000 acre preserve just west of Yakima (about a ten minute drive from our house to the trailhead) that I had wandered around a little last summer. Lots of single track and double track trails for mountain biking and hiking. Very desert-like anywhere that’s not close to the creek at the bottom of the canyon. I think it’s a fairly popular spot for people to run their dogs too as our three dogs were sniffing like mad from the get-go. Neat views of Mount Adams and the Yakima Valley, but otherwise nothing too spectacular.
The day started off plenty lazy. After briefly letting the dogs out when they started shuffling around at daybreak, I went back to bed and slept until almost 11. I can’t remember the last time I slept in that late. I’m sure it’s been more than a year since the last time (maybe when I last worked a third shift at St. John’s in ’06). Granted I stayed up pretty late last night, but that was some of the deepest sleep I’ve had in a while.
This has been such a nice break from work the past week and a half. I didn’t burn any vacation days, but had two days off for Christmas, a day and a half for New Year’s and a couple of my normal three-day weekends lumped in there. Even the days I did work everyone else was vacationing, so I basically had the place to myself. No meetings, no surprise work assignments. I guess it’s not over yet, but I’m already trying to figure out how I’m going to make it to my next paid holiday in May.
This afternoon was less lazy though. With blue skies and a bunch of college kids on winter break, a Frisbee game was pulled together last minute. It felt good to sprint around again, though I could definitely feel the time off in my lungs. We threw for a while then played 5 on 5 for about an hour, until soaked feet and tired legs wrapped things up.
Pictures: The dogs slept in too this morning. And a shot of Chesterly Park with some hardy Frisbee players here in Yakima this afternoon.
We finally got around to taking advantage of the long weekend for a little outdoor time this afternoon. Tossed Taylor in the back of the Tribute (to the displeasure of the other two dogs) and headed up toward White Pass. On the way up a small group of big horn sheep bounded across the road in front of the car in front of us. Don’t see that every day.
I had kind of been hoping to do a little winter hiking up in the mountains but after getting close to Rimrock Lake we quickly found that our access points for anything resembling a trail were pretty well snowed under. The snowmobilers were out in full force though, zipping around the edges of the lake. So we settled for taking a few pictures from the car and briefly running Taylor in the snow along a Forest Service road. Really pretty drive though. It’s neat to see the way such a large landscape morphs through the seasons.
Heading back toward Yakima, we stopped to check out the elk feeding area near Oak Creek Canyon. As snows hit higher up in the Cascades, elk tend to migrate toward the valley in search of food. This area was set up to keep elk out of local orchards and off of roads. We happened to stop by right around the time they were getting ready to feed the herd. Pretty robust gathering given the thirteen inches of snow that fell last night at White Pass.
Right across the highway from the feeding station is a popular rock climbing spot, the Royal Columns. A huge wall of massive Andesite columns that makes for good crag climbing. I’d been out here a few times last summer, hiking around and watching the rock climbers. Next spring I’m planning on buying some gear and teaching myself enough to join the fun. We left our car parked at the feeding station and ran across the highway with Taylor to hike around the cliffs a bit.
Have you ever tried to take a self-picture of two humans and a wiggling dog? It’s not easy. In the bottom right picture you can see from above the hundreds of elk gathered to eat.
Well it took twenty-one months, but, as promised, I finally got around to typing up my last few pages of notes from my Peru trip with Weaver and Burgers back in March of ’06. It’ll probably make more sense in context of all the other already typed posts, but if you want to just skip ahead to the new ones they are the asterisked entries below.
West Virginia’s Rich Rodriguez is the new U of M head football coach. Under the circumstances I don’t think you could ask for much more. It’ll definitely be more fun watching a spread offense for a change, even if Ryan Mallett isn’t the ideal QB to lead that style.