The Canyon

After seeing the scenery for the last several miles, I was excited when we entered the canyon. There was so much to see, the weather was warm and there were few people there. The recipe for a perfect hike!

The first thing that struck me was how different this was from our Alpine hikes in the mountains. Now we were hiking the floor of a desert canyon that had a small stream. All around us were rock walls and scrub brush but in this little canyon, there was life... This tree is an unfortunate exception...      

I loved that tree! And this one...

As it turned out, the beavers loved some of the trees there too!

 

We saw a number of dams the little critters had created. There must have been a whole colony of beavers in that canyon!

As the hike continued on, a number of people that had passed us to head up the canyon faster than "Camera girl" were heading back. And they kept saying the same things: "Snakes ahead" or even scarier: "Rattlesnake ahead about 100 yards on your left".  I did not realize this about myself as we were planning this trip... I had hypnotized myself into believing we wouldn't encounter any. Even though I left Maddie at home, I still didn't think we'd see any. So having people say that really began to instill fear in me. I don't have an overt fear of snakes, but there were no snakes in Alaska and damn few at my grandma's house in Oregon, so I don't have a base of childhood experiences with snakes to draw on. I have years of seeing them behind the glass at the zoo! So as we pressed on TOG would reassure with wisdom like "Just remember, a snake can only strike the length of their body so as long as you stay a bodies length away, you'll be fine" or "They only rattle to warn you away, just keep poking your hiking pole in big shrubs and grasses so you don't get surprised"! Believe me, none of this helped and I was feeling pretty skittish in the rocky areas of the canyon!

And then things like this would catch my attention...


And things like this...

I began to calm down (mostly because I hadn't seen or heard a rattler). I even took pictures of flowers!

These are the yellow ones all over the slopes. They look a lot better from a distance in my opinion! Up close they look a bit weed like!

I even took pictures of rocks... (cuz I'm a dork)

Because many of the rocks in eastern Washington are volcanic basalt and look like swiss cheese!

We finally decided to turn and head back. It was hot and we were drinking a lot of our water...and we had a long drive to get home. So there we are strolling all carefree down the canyon when we came upon this...

      

I was scared spitless. (It was hot, remember) But as it turned out, the snake was dead which was a huge relief to me. I found I did not want to hear a snake rattle, but I was sad that he was dead. He had quite an injury on his side.

We carried on down the trail and TOG was leading. He'd offered to let me lead several times, but I didn't want to be the snake spotter. So as we rounded a corner of the trail TOG was about 2 strides ahead of me when I saw this long shape slither between the two of us! Snake! Reflexively, I screamed and leaped sideways off the trail into the brush. TOG planted his hiking poles and pole vaulted forward about 8 feet, landing in time to turn and see the snake slither into the underbrush. My heart was pounding at this time. We were both laughing about how "the snake spotter" stepped right over a snake leaving his wife to sound the alarm!

We were almost back to the head of the canyon when TOG took the following pictures...

And the close up...

Pardon the bright red cheeks... I was a little warm! It was about 85 degrees in the canyon! Thankfully, I brought spare clothes to change into on the way back so I didn't have to ride home all sweaty!

Because this has gotten so long, I'll just show you a couple more pics from the way home...

The Kittitas Valley with the Stewart range in the background...

  

And the wind power on the slopes... TOG informs me that each blade is 100 feet long. I had the lens on full zoom trying to get this shot, we were so far away. I was wishing I'd brought my telephoto!

Thanks for coming with me! It's been fun sorting through 130 photos trying to find the best ones! And for Lauren, this drive... about 2.5 hours from our house to the canyon. We could probably do it in two hours without all the potty breaks and stopping for food!

Asthmagirl out!