Umtanum Ridge

Yakima Skyline Ridge Trail

MAY 24, 2009 Once more to the Ridge for this Mountaineers hike.  There were 11 in our group for this hike on a hot, cloudless day.  We followed the route I took on my first hike to Umtanum Ridge this year.  After last week's hike from the old access trailhead, though, I changed my mind about the steepness of this trail and decided it was a very gentle grade indeed.   There was a wide variety in interests in this group, and assorted wildflower books, binoculars and cameras were produced and used along the hike.   Once we reached the ridge we continued to the high point at 2737' overlooking the river.   We stopped there for a leisurely lunch and watched at various times pelicans, hawks and ravens flying overhead.  The wind picked up and dust devils stirred up our lunch area. 

Another group of hikers stopped to chat for a few minutes while we were packing up for our hike out.  They had encountered 4 rattlesnakes on their hike up from the old access trailhead.   Our own wildlife encounters were limited to the birds, a small lizard or newt that was sunning itself on a rock, a single big horned sheep that everyone saw (except me!), and the bee that stung me at our lunch stop. 

The wildflower display included larkspur, thyme buckwheat, yarrow, balsam root, lupine and bitter root.  Although the bitter root is still growing en masse and beautiful, the wildflower display is nearly at an end for the year.  The temperature reached 87 on this cloudless day, a little beyond my comfort zone.  This will probably be my last trip to the steppe brush this season. 

7 1/2 miles
1500' gain