Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hiking and wine!

I'm recovered from last weekend's hiking/wine trip and am ready for more. CF and I took off on Thursday and headed down to the Columbia River Gorge to do some hiking. We stopped at Beacon Rock and did a quick one mile hike up to the viewpoint and then back down. The views of the gorge were amazing and I recommend that as a nice quick leg stretcher. Then we drove across the street and up the mountain to hike the Hamilton Mountain trail. That was about 8 miles (maybe 6) round trip and the trail was difficult - very gravelly and slippery. The views were beautiful in places, but the flowers just weren't out there. After hiking we drove on to Goldendale where he had giant margaritas and really great Mexican food and went to the Goldendale observatory. The observatory was fun, and a very odd experience that reminded me of a Simpson's episode. "To the observatory!" It was run by two very eager astronomers who seemed to enjoy their jobs and did a good job of putting on a show for the astronomy buffs. Unfortunately, it doesn't get dark there until very late so there was limited star watching. Fortunately, we did get to see one star through the fancy telescope.

Day two took us to wine country where we sampled wines in Prosser and Zillah. I would absolutely go back to wine country again. The tastings are fun - you get to talk to people who know their wine and, of course, the wine is the best. I bought 8 bottles, including a bottle of basil/garlic vinegar which I'm thinking I'm going to pour over some tomatoes and cucumbers when they get in season (the tomatoes). I don't know how accurate my palate is after the first few tastings, and I'm really glad that I wasn't driving after the first two stops. We pushed on to Packwood after unsuccessfully trying to find hieroglyphs that my guide book told us were in Naches. I'm now suspicious of the guide book.

Day three was hiking, hiking, and hiking. Some successful, some not. Unfortunately, Shoe Lake at White Pass was off limits to us. We hiked up through black clouds of mosquitos only to lose the trail about an hour into the hike. That's when my hiking legs kicked in and it was very hard for me to admit defeat and turn back. We then did a very short hike, but a nice one in Mt. Rainier National Park where we got to check out the old growth giants dwelling there. I didn't bother taking pictures - they wouldn't do them justice. At any rate, we hopped in the car and went to Mt. St. Helens. Yes, that is a lot of driving in one day, but I have to admit it was worth it. I hadn't been to the Windy Ridge side of St. Helens and it was amazing. There were lots of trees that had been stripped dry and left in place - skeletal remains on a gray, windy landscape. The wind really did whip up and the hike was straight up for the first mile on steps carved into the sandy, gravel slope. It is odd to go from deep forest to moonscape in one day. Odd, but good. Pictures are here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi again. I enjoyed reading your blog this morning so decided to start at the beginning and read back to where I got up to. Some great posts.
    Just had to stop on this one though and say that I would never go anywhere called rattlesnake hills. I have a massive snake phobia. I always had to get friends to deal with the dead snakes that my clever little boy would kill when we were living in australia. Just wish he was clever enough to bury them too.