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Mountainfisherman
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PostMon Jan 18, 2021 6:26 am 
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I thought Iíd throw this on here after reading about folks looking for places to camp/hike during the winter. My winter playground is the area west of the Selah Ellensburg Road to the 1701 Rd that runs from Hwy 410 to Manastash Ridge. The access points I generally use are the Observatory Rd which is closed to vehicles to Audoban Rd, also closed. Thereís a spot in between, an old logging road with a barbed wire gate thatís down that I use as well. But however you access there are miles and miles to roam with a lot of variations available and I rarely if ever see anyone else. One of my favorite things to do is find a sheltered spot to camp, then find a viewpoint to watch elk that are wintering in the area. The Selah Ellensburg Rd can have some slick spots particularly west of Ellensburg Pass-real icy right now. It had not frozen overnight, so yesterday was muddy and snow was slushy. Was able to see several groups of elk without spooking them, had lunch in a hunting blind. At any rate, if youíre looking for a spot to camp/hike and have solitude-this is a good place to do it. The Hanson Pond Rd is not gated so there can be a vehicle moving around in there or snowmobiles can come off the 1701 to the west, but I rarely see them.
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hunterofelke
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PostThu Jan 21, 2021 3:40 am 
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I have used that area for winter and spring retreats, too.  Reminds me of the place in Montana I grew up.  Was the blind a ring of stone with a stove pipe?
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Mountainfisherman
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PostThu Jan 21, 2021 5:19 am 
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No, itís up above the one you mentioned right on the edge of the trees on the ridge, east of the road that goes up the ridge. Built with plywood, rocks built up for a seat inside it. I know the one youíre talking about, though, some real effort went into that.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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PostThu Jan 21, 2021 7:57 pm 
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I've had that area in the back of my mind for a first visit for quite a while. It sounds great and a big change from the thickly forested west side.

I copy maps when I find them and ran across these a while back:

WDFW road map, one of the Green Dot series

WDFW Administration map

[Edit] Fixed first link that changed after I posted this. I couldn't find a replacement for the last link. Why don't government agencies use a permalink policy?

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Mid Fork Rocks ē flickr
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timberghost
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PostMon Jan 25, 2021 5:41 am 
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Much left for wildlife in the Wenas these days
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Mountainfisherman
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PostMon Jan 25, 2021 5:52 pm 
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Surprisingly yes.  It helps that it hasn't been a hard winter at all, not too much snow anywhere and lots of bare ground and significant green up on southern exposures.  Muleys really like bitterbrush, but also  like fresh grasses-but they could be in trouble if we have a hard late winter and snow gets hard and crusty.  Elk are fed in an area that burned, significant amounts of Clemens burned on the north side, and elk are there at the feed station, but it's greening up there, too.  Large numbers of elk winter in the Wenas and never are fed-out by the Observatory, South Umptanum Ridge, on Manastash Ridge west of the Selah Ellensburg Road.  I've seen a lot of crossing over East of the road towards the burn, but haven't really investigated that area, but I know the big canyons from at least Lemon Canyon eastward got burned. I've seen more elk than I've seen before in the flat area along Audobon Rd up to the gate and that may be in response to the burn.  So far, conditions have been good and animals are in good shape.
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timberghost
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PostTue Jan 26, 2021 6:00 am 
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That's good to hear they need a break. Some of the other areas are void of them its good to hear they are doing well there
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seahuskies
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PostThu Jan 28, 2021 1:32 pm 
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Thanks for sharing, I have been hoping to head out there soon to try to photograph bighorn sheep. Any spots at Wenas (or the other nearby wildlife areas) you know of for that?
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moonspots
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PostThu Jan 28, 2021 9:03 pm 
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puzzlr wrote:
[Edit] Fixed first link that changed after I posted this. I couldn't find a replacement for the last link. Why don't government agencies use a permalink policy?

One might think that they're just lazy (true often times - and I can say that as I worked for the federal GOV for ~35 years, and some of the people that we had "working" for us just drove me nuts sometimes), but generally it's a case of hiring the lowest bid for any jobs needing to be contracted out, mistakenly thinking they're being good stewards of the public $.

Rarely was that ever true as lowest bid almost always meant p-poorest results, and then had to be corrected by either another low bidder, or by us. Ok, /rant...

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"Out, OUT you demons of Stupidity"! - St Dogbert, patron Saint of Technology
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Mountainfisherman
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 3:44 am 
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The bighorns are fed on the south side of Clemens south of Hwy. 12. Instead of turning left towards White Pass at the 12/410 junction go right on the Old Naches Rd and down that road about a mile is the spot.  Fairly good numbers of ewes are often around-rams May not be with them. Seems like people hiking up Waterworks Canyon-keep going straight up 410 to a parking area just after the highway crosses a canal-and see some up that way. Iíve seen them in Umptanum around the waterfall and further East-that area burned off and I donít how that affected them in that area.  You might see some in the Yakima River Canyon, I saw a lot of deer last time I was in there but didnít see any sheep.
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seahuskies
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 9:25 am 
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Mountainfisherman wrote:
The bighorns are fed on the south side of Clemens south of Hwy. 12. Instead of turning left towards White Pass at the 12/410 junction go right on the Old Naches Rd and down that road about a mile is the spot.  Fairly good numbers of ewes are often around-rams May not be with them. Seems like people hiking up Waterworks Canyon-keep going straight up 410 to a parking area just after the highway crosses a canal-and see some up that way. Iíve seen them in Umptanum around the waterfall and further East-that area burned off and I donít how that affected them in that area.  You might see some in the Yakima River Canyon, I saw a lot of deer last time I was in there but didnít see any sheep.

Thanks so much. I will report back with some pictures if I have any luck
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Mountainfisherman
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PostFri Jan 29, 2021 1:49 pm 
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I'll look forward to it.  Occasionally, there are some sheep on the road past the Woodshed and on up the road-if you get to the Gold Run Rd. you'll be past the farthest up the road I've seen them.  Usually have to be early before they've been scared off the road.  They're down licking salt used to de-ice the roads.
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asdf
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 10:41 am 
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Hey, thanks for the info! I think I will check this out.  This sounds like exactly what I want.

You mentioned snow was light several weeks ago; do you know in general what kind of snow cover I would be looking at in that area this time of year?  Are we talking <1 foot of patch and crust, or multiple feet of deep powder?  Just as a broad generality.  So I know what to plan for.
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Mountainfisherman
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PostThu Feb 11, 2021 6:10 pm 
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Last Sunday exposed areas were snow free, north facing shaded areas had crusted snow up to a foot deep in spots that got pretty soft as the day went on. Not hard to avoid those spots or get through them.  We've gotten some snow today, the general pattern is that after a snow, the exposed areas will melt off while others are covered for a while until we have prolonged warming. Be interesting to see how much snow we get from next system that passes through.
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timberghost
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PostMon Feb 22, 2021 5:42 am 
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Heard theres a few bulls at the Oak Creek area
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