It's been a little wet here in Seattle lately. The rain will fall. The sun will shine. The rain will fall. What we're left with is a soggy, just rained-on feeling with a little bit of warm-mugginess thrown in to bring energy levels to an all-time low. The remedy for this pre-summer malady? A truck trip to eastern Washington.
This time our destination of choice was the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area (Sometimes spelled "Umptanum" Creek Recreation Area) and a great 4x4 trip along Hansen Road to the top of Manashtash Ridge for great views of the valley.
Be warned, for parts of this trip you will want to engage your 4-wheel drive. At least, that is, if you want to make good time and reach the ultimate viewing point at the top of the ridge. Also, be sure to wear long pants and hiking boots. There are spots along the gravel and dirt road that will have you stopping and hopping out to get a better look at the wildlife and wildflowers. The long pants will keep you protected from the knarly, sharp pointed plant life AND keep you protected from the ticks, which are common in the grasses near watering holes in this area from April to July.
If you get out early enough, you'll arrive in time to spot mule deer, California Bighorn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk, coyote and families of quail. Unlike the evergreen forest mountain roads for 4x4'ing on the west side of the cascades, the roads here on the east side are diversely populated with wildlife. The wildflowers are amazing too.
Here are some more pictures from our trip in mid-June. We hope they peak your interest. Seriously, now's the time to pack up the truck. Motivate the family for a road trip and get out to see the wild and beautiful Umtanum Creek Recreation Area.
Hope to see you there!
These are amazingly delicate flowers that grow in between the rocks and the grasses.
These mini lakes are beautful. Watch out though. The tall grasses and frequent visits by deer and wildlife make these spots the perfect habitat for ticks. Be sure to do a "tick check" before turning in for the night!
If you find a tick, it is important to remove it carefully. Don't let it stay in. The longer it is attached, especially if attached more than 48 hours, the greater the chance that you or your family member will be exposed to tick borne diseases like Lyme disease.
To remove the tick you will need: tweezers, gloves or a tissue (you do not want to touch the tick), a small jar to keep the tick in (you may need the darn bug in the event you end up getting sick from the bite), an antiseptic to clean the area of the bite and your hands after removal, GRAB THE TICK with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible (do not squeeze too hard or the tick will "vomit" its grossness into your blood stream, then, GENTLY pull the tick STRAIGHT UP (don't jerk or twist the tick or you will break the head off--yes, we know GROSS! If this does happen, please visit your physician as soon as possible to get help removing it. It may seem like we're going into too much detail here, but, when we came back from our trip we counted four ticks between us. YUK!
Don't worry though. When we asked the kids if they'd like to do the trip again the answer was a unanimous YES!
The recreation area has a parking lot located just before the trail head. Stop here for a nice hike before getting in the truck and driving down Umtanum Road and then turning right on to Hansen Road about a mile west of the recreation area trail head which will take you on a nice gravel and dirt road until you reach the crest and the overlook on Manashtash Ridge for great views of the valley.
Be sure to stop off at the Valley Cafe in Ellensburg for quick bite before heading back over the pass.