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Forum Index -> Trip Reports -> Yakima Skyline-Umtanum Canyon Loop
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EastKing
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007
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Location: 40 hours week work; 40 hours summit
Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:36 pm    Yakima Skyline-Umtanum Canyon Loop
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Yakima Skyline; Umtanum Canyon Loop
Est. Hike 12-14 (???) miles
Est. Elevation Gain  2500 feet
Snake Encounters: two



Yes just another boring hike in Washington. This hike featured two summits, an ill advised glissade, beating sun, extensive bushwhacking, multiple rattlesnake encounters, Mennonites, a Native American flute man, ATVís and yes beautiful views from both the summits and inside the canyon.  Yes this trip was very exciting and well worth it (though I could do without the multiple rattlesnake encounters).

Me, Quetzal Curtissimo, Aaron and Kate decided to take on this great adventure with me knowing very little of what I was going to do. As you have probably read 14 miles hike are not really bothering me now that I have done Teneriffe last week. So when Quetzal Curtissimo came to with this hike I jumped on it. I have never been to the Washington desert region and was looking forward to see a different side of the state.


We left the Kirkland area around 6:30 am and arrived at the Umtanum Creek Canyon Recreation Center off of Hwy. 821 around 9:00 am. The first part of the trip we decided to climb to the Yakima Skyline ridge. We noticed a sign saying that the trail was closed 3 Ĺ miles ahead but it wasnít clear which trail was closed and where. So we just ascended up to the ridge. This trail was mostly at a moderate pitch with some smaller steeper areas but nothing too hard or dramatic. After about 2 Ĺ to 3 miles (???) and the bulk of the elevation, we hit the Yakima Skyline Trail, which was more of a dirt road. We turn right (north) on the dirt road and soon summitted Wenas Peak. The views north up towards Mt. Stuart were great but the rest of the area was quiet hazy.  We continued on north up the Skyline Trail about roughly 3 miles to Yakima Skyline Peak (???) which had a number of radio and microwave towers.


This summit was uneventful and we were kind of let down by the fact of both the pollution on the mountain and the fact that it was also an ATV destination. Luckily the group of ATV people we ran into took our picture on top of the mountain. After a couple minutes we decided to bushwhack/scramble down a nearby road which lead to the canyon. I decided to glissade down a small snowfield. It was about 100 foot run and was quiet a fast run. At one point  I was losing control and I had to try to self-arrest using a trekking pole. I got control but bent yet another pole, but luckily I was able to bend it back after the glissade. The rest of the decent of uneventful and the 3 (??) mile descent down into the canyon was uneventful.


The canyon was where the adventure began though. There where the core of the bushwhacking began. We saw another sign stating that the trail was closed 1.25 miles. But there was no trail. All we had were some footpaths at time and some bushwhacking at other times. So obviously the sign was just trying to say there was no trail right. Wrong!!! At 1.25 miles we ran into another sign stating the trail was close. Well it is decision time. Cross the trail closed sign and continue down the canyon (which there was no trail) or bushwhack back the way we came and have go all the way over the ridge and back down. The choice is easy on this one; go through the closed trail section. We continued to bushwhack this section  which at time was a little frustrating but nothing too difficult. After a mile (?) we made it through the trail-closed section and were falsely relieved that the adventure was almost over.


The flowers in the canyon were very pretty and the scenery was absolutely incredible. This canyon remind of scenes which came from Western style movies. The walls of the canyons made you feel as if you were in a different world. There was one ponderosa pine in the canyon that was extremely large and quiet an impressive sight to see. The small creek often put our mind at ease as we bushwhacked and followed footpaths down the canyon. Definite a very special section of this trip.

About a half mile past that section the Rim Trail became more obvious . We then started running into people on the trail. We also though ran into other critters of the desert. The first rattler hissed its rattle at Kate and I when we were talking with another group of hikers heading into the canyon. It was hiding right in the grass about 2 feet from us. All the sudden it hit me that possible the rest of the way back I was going to walking past grassland hidden with these rattlers and I had no rattlesnake antidote!!!! Oh @#$%!!!



I didnít get a picture of the large 8 foot rattler. But about a mile down I ran into yet another rattler, this two feet from my leg. It coiled up and hissed  at me so I quickly back away and it decided to head into the bushes. I got a picture of this one as it headed into the bushes but having the $%& scared out of me twice woke me up to the fact that I seriously need a snake bite kit if I ever do this trail again.

You would think though that the fact that this trail was loaded with rattlers would stop people from coming up it!! But on the way down we ran into Mennonites, a Native American flute player and tons of people with dogs on the trail. Good luck!! The funny thing is most of people coming up kept saying they had ran into multiple rattlers below. Well though I heard some other rumbles in the bushes I did not rum into anymore rattlers. You donít know how happy I was to see that suspension bridge again.

We made it back to the car around 5:30 and spent some time in Yakima before heading back to Seattle. All of us were burnt, dehydrated and tired but happy we survived another boring (yeah right!!) weekend hiking in Washington.

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I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Magellan
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:40 pm   
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Despite your best efforts you guys didn't get lost or die from glissading while rattlesnakes were gnawing on you.   up.gif  up.gif  Does anyone have flower pictures for those of us trapped in the big city?
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More Cowbell
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:41 pm   
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Flute player?  Seriously?  Pics?

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ďIf you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.Ē - Unknown
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EastKing
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:46 pm   
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No pics of the flute player. He was trying to be romantic with his wife-girlfriend. I was already running from rattlers. I don't need any more problems.

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Magellan
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:46 pm   
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Q looks like he has been in sunny country before.  Not sure what to think about superfly there.  uhh.gif
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EastKing
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 9:54 pm   
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You should see how burnt his face was. I can't wait tell he puts his pics up on this post!!!


That is the best flower picture I've got. Curt might have some.

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Gil
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Post Mon May 05, 2008 10:08 pm   
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Jeez you guys! Sunburn and snakes!

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Friends help the miles go easier.
My most interesting images
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EastKing
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Post Tue May 06, 2008 12:42 am    You guys are interesting!
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This is Greg's wife writing a comment.
I am proud of Greg for all of his hikes.

hey sweetie...
Keep up the weird hikes, it is very entertaining. dizzy.gif

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Curtissimo
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Post Tue May 06, 2008 12:36 pm   
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looking good!

the first peak along the ridge was called Wenas on the USGS marker.  Yes, I assume that's how you pronounce it!


PS to Don Goyo,  now you just need your mom posting here!  Nobody better be mean to you...
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Negaverse
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Post Tue May 06, 2008 1:34 pm   
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Thanks for the report!  This is what I meant to do with a friend on Saturday, but we didn't take the trail up to the ridge right after the railroad tracks and ended up bushwhacking for a few miles on the wrong side of the river until we found an ill-advised goat path ascent on the south ridge.  Never did make the ridge, and didn't see any rattlers, but there were some very pretty birds about.  Needless to say, next time I'll follow the trail before my eyes rather than searching for one that's supposed to be there not too far down the cayon.
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Lono
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Post Tue May 06, 2008 2:23 pm   
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There is a way (a climb out, not a trail) out of the canyon up a grassy knoll to the South, you would know it if you saw it - just after you despair of ever reaching Durr Road maybe.  I think this is after the Canyon Closed signs though, which is quite literally for benefit of the birds (and rattlers) so better not to trespass looking for it.

I worry about all those dogs down in that canyon, plenty of rattlers there.  No need for a snake bite kit, there is no snake bite kit that will do you any good.  Sucking venom or cross-hatch cutting the bites have been proven not to do alot of good, and some actual harm.  If you get bit, stay calm, and walk out (don't run) to medical help.  Most rattler bites won't kill a grown person, and most rattlers will run away given a chance before they'll ever bite.
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EastKing
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Post Tue May 06, 2008 8:27 pm   
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Lono

Good advise on the rattlers. I didn't know how much damage their venom really was and what I could do to strengthen my odds of survival. I am still terrified  eek.gif  by the prospect of getting bit but I am glad at the fact that I can survive for a while if I got bit. That doesn't mean though standing within two feet of two rattlers made me feel better. paranoid.gif

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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Jon
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Post Mon May 12, 2008 5:30 am   
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Great report! I'm thinking about backpacking up the canyon with my kids around memorial day. How far up the canyon can you go before the trail is closed?
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Jake
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Post Mon May 12, 2008 6:10 am   
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8 foot rattler???? in Washington???? Never found one near that big.
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EastKing
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Post Mon May 12, 2008 9:56 pm   
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Jon,

If you bring your kids watch them VERY closely. There is another trip report from Opus who experienced a close counter from a rattler. This canyon must be filled with them. I lived and hiked in Maryland which has copperheads and rattlers and never had one encounter with them in 21 years. In this canyon I had two close encounter with one ready for action. eek.gif

Jake,

I might have slightly oversized it because I didn't really want stay around and catch it. However according the people I was with this was clearly the largest rattler they had ever encountered. This canyon must provide good protection for them to grow and thrive. If you like rattlers, this canyon is for you.

--------------
I am addicted to summits! I can't eat, drink or breath without them. Life without mountains would really suck.

http://www.myspace.com/climbandsurfmackg | http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=894
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