None of us had been out on Yakima-area trails, it seemed like a fun option. Ben put together an adventurous outing doing the first two climbs (~11 miles) of the Skyline Rim 50k course, and then utilizing "dirt" roads, steppe-shrub wandering, canyon-bottom shwhacking and a few miles of trail to create a nice 27-mile loop.
It was a good sign that Ethan, Ben and I were able to laugh and smile about it all day. We had great views north to the Stuart Range, west/south to Rainier, Adams and Hood, saw a lot of deer and two bighorn sheep, went up and down through the inversion fog and escaped the day largely unscathed.
|Ben and Ethan, starting out under the inversion fog|
|Ethan, coming up the first climb to Umtanum Ridge|
|The Stuart Range; Alpine Lakes peaks further west (Chikamin, Lemah, Summit Chief, Bear's Breast?)|
|Shoe-deadening, slip-and-slide mud|
|Descending Umtanum Ridge to Roza Creek, second climb in the upper-left|
|Aforementioned second climb...|
|Inversion fog seeping over a low ridge|
|Top of the second climb, heading west down the ridge with Rainier|
|Little bit of cross country|
|Our route from the top of the second climb (center-left) followed the ridge down, then one mile of cross country to hit Old Durr Road; taken from near the top of western Umtanum Ridge|
|Our trail-less descent into upper Umtanum Creek canyon|
|I think we forded the creek eight times in the upper section before reaching the real trail|
|A few prickly items, but not bad for the two miles to reach the trail|
|Columnar-basalt in upper Umtanum Creek canyon|