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.