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Horse Heaven Hills
posted by John : October 24, 2009

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The "view"

You'd think that I'd be smart enough to stay cuddled in bed on my wedding anniversary, wouldn't you. Well, I would have. Except I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I figured the worst thing I could do would be to accidentally wake Amy up and as quiet as I was I wasn't likely to be able to do anything other than lie still. And I'm lousy at that.

Although I considered heading to Starbucks I figured I'd be better off burning some energy by hiking up the hill behind the B&B. It's not much of a hill. I think it's actually just the southern edge of the Yakima River valley. Still, there's miles and feet to be gained so I set off at 7:30 knowing I needed to be back in time for a 9am breakfast. It's a road walk the whole way, if you want, but you can also cut a couple of switchbacks.

The first was a double-track that has obviously been driven pretty frequently. Nothing special, but it wasn't the loose gravel of the main road. The second shortcut was more my style. It might once have been a road, but now it was just a rut that headed straight up the slope through low scrub. It reminded me a lot of the route I took on Chelan Butte. There was an option to rejoin the road, but that would have resulted in a long traverse. Instead, I continued to the ridge.

Stopping to take a breath and have a drink I saw that Mt. Adams was especially prominent. Mt. Rainier was more distant, but unmistakeable at least as far as being a major mountain. The sun, slicing through the clouds, lit up Rainier first and then cast its light on Adams.

At the ridge top I couldn't look down on the other side, but across it. Tilled fields stretched as far as I could see. I looked at my watch and determined I had enough time to try for the radio tower festooned summit and headed that way. I had to drop a bit and skirted the corner of a field, but was soon back on the road. An elderly man was jogging up and made me look foolish as I first tried to keep up and then watched him disappear. When he wrapped around the summit I headed straight up, got as close as I wanted to the microwave towers, and then turned for the B&B. It'd taken 40 minutes to get up, five more than I'd planned. I'd have to jog down. Ugh.

There's a really good reason I don't run a lot. It's mostly because there's nothing chasing me. Other problems on the trail have only served to reinforce my prohibition on quick descents, but here I was doing it again. Nothing bad happened except my legs would be sore for the next few days. I rolled into the house with enough time for a quick shower before breakfast.

Total distance was about 4.4 miles with 1,375 feet of gain.

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