Yakima Rim Skyline Trail, Washington -- May 25-27, 2002

(all pictures are low res, for high res click here)

For the long Memorial Day weekend, my girlfriend Ellen and I figured we should go out camping somewhere. We knew the weather in Seattle was going to be crappy™, so we headed out east of the Cascades to Yakima Valley, where we were almost guaranteed good weather. The hike we chose was the Yakima Rim Skyline Trail.

We started the first day by very carefully driving to the Birdsong camp , as the road was extremely bumpy. Birdsong camp is about the midpoint of the trail. We thought we would car camp here, and then take day hikes thru both ends of the trail. After locating the camp, we began hiking to the cleverly disguised trailhead.  As we hiked along, the only thing that marked the trail were wooden poles. As we hiked up the ridge we could see a train that was storming down the tracks by the river , it made for a great place to stop and rest. We were exhausted from the long drive and we still hadn't set up camp yet, so we turned around and started heading back to Birdsong. At this point we decided to take a detour and see if we could find an easier route back. By doing this we found all kinds of great things, like this huge beetle  , random snakes , bright wildflowers , mule deer (though we weren't quick enough to actually get a picture, we thought a picture of its scat would suffice :-) ) and stunning views .

As we set up camp, I made my own version of pan seared sashimi tuna, sipped a bottle of 1999 L'Ecole º41 Cabernet Sauvignon, and added some buttery corn on the cob to go with it all. Scrumptious! What a great way to end an awesome day of hiking...did I mention that I love to car camp? Anyway, for dessert Ellen made some s'mores, and we continued drinking, but this time we consumed beer instead of wine. Finally, in our drunken stupor we stumbled into our tents and went to bed -- okay, so it was more like we passed out. ;-P~~

Sunday we woke to the sound of birds chirping and singing, and we looked out the tent at this view. After a quick banana and macadamia nut pancake breakfast, we cleaned up, brushed our teeth and headed to the south trailhead. This trailhead was marked by the foundation of an old schoolhouse .  As we crossed the dry creek bed, I was very nearly bitten by a huge western rattlesnake which scared the crap out of us. For the rest of the hike we were both very jittery. Again, this trail was marked with wooden poles, some with signs .  When we finally reached the turnaround point at the top of the ridge, we were rewarded with some great views of the canyon and the river .  We got back to camp early, so we just lounged around and watched the birds sing to us ... but as luck would have it, the rain followed us from Seattle. Sure enough, we started to get showers, so we threw everything into the tent. Being the hyper person that I am, I had to do something to kill some time --so I assumed the role of the annoying cameraman. As the rain subsided, we were treated to a rainbow.. Finally, we made dinner and called it a night.

Monday was the big day to leave  -- so Ellen made some more pancakes and sausage , and we packed up camp and headed up the bumpiest road in Washington. Once we returned to civilization, we realized that we weren't too far away from the Washington wine country. We decided to end our trip by going wine tasting. We started off at Chinook, and simply drove up wine country road. No visit to Yakima valley would be complete without a stop at Chukar Cherries.

On the way home, we hit the worst Memorial Day traffic ever. I swear people in Washington don't know how to drive. Anyway to pass the time, we decided to see who could find the weirdest AM radio show... Sure enough, Ellen found Art Bell on KOMO. Please, if you listen to Art Bell, do us all a favor by not having children. Anyway, it was a kooky way to end an awesome weekend out of the rain (mostly).