Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sun and Fun on Skyline Ridge 03-10-2012
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSat Mar 10, 2012 9:51 pm 
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Well, the thought of a wet and sloppy, cold snowshoe wasn't particularly appealing - but it didn't look like there would be any sun anywhere this weekend . . . well, there was a possible sucker hole!  Head toward Yakima and head up Skyline Ridge.  An appealing thought - no snowshoes, ice ax, microspikes, etc.etc.   up.gif

So, Jim K, Putz-n-Boots (Janet), Middle E (Barry), the Driver and Gus left the pouring rains of the wet side and headed east.  This would be a first trip for Jim and Barry.  Janet had been part way up our destination (Gracie Point) and the Driver had done the trip all the way to Birdsong with TrailPair (Bob and Kolleen) five years ago. 
Birdsong - April 2007

Actually, Ragman and Rodman did this trip last year about the same time:

Ragman and Rodman - March 2011

We were ecstatic that as soon as we got across the Pass the skies looked bluer to the south and east.  And, sure enough, by the time we got to the trailhead, there was blue sky and the sun popping through!   cool.gif
The trail is obvious and it's a continuous climb to the ridge. 
Trailhead - some blue skies and sun!
Trailhead - some blue skies and sun!
Janet coming up the ridge trail
Janet coming up the ridge trail
Looking south over the Yakima Valley as we head up Skyline
Looking south over the Yakima Valley as we head up Skyline

Finally, we got up on the Ridge and could look north to the Yakima River and the Roza Dam. 
Almost surreal pic of Yakima River
Almost surreal pic of Yakima River
Yakima River at Roza Dam
Yakima River at Roza Dam
More river views
More river views
Love those buttes and ridges along the Yakima
Love those buttes and ridges along the Yakima
The Yakima River
The Yakima River

The temperature was mild, very little wind at the start.  Unfortunately, not a lot of spring flower activity yet, but we did see evidence of Bitterroot to come - and, we heard several Meadowlark, so Spring can't be too far behind.  We continued along the Ridge with our destination in sight. 
Jim and Janet along Skyline Ridge
Jim and Janet along Skyline Ridge
Gracie Point ahead
Gracie Point ahead

Just beyond the junction with another trail that makes it way up to Skyline, we opted to take the "high road" - that is an old road track that goes a little to the west of the actual Skyline Ridge trail.  It saved us losing some altitude - Gus even ran into a little bit of snow! 
Yummmmm - snow!
Yummmmm - snow!

We more or less paralleled Skyline Ridge around the base of Gracie Point and could see the ridgeline we had followed.
Looking back to the ridge line where we were
Looking back to the ridge line where we were

After just about circumnavigating Gracie, we finally decided to just head straight up, since the Skyline Ridge trail doesn't really go to the summit.  We figured once we got to the summit, we'd probably find a trail that goes to the top - sure enough -  agree.gif
Of course, there's a road to Gracie point
Of course, there's a road to Gracie point

It was a bit breezy on top, so we quickly took our obligatory summit shot.
The crew - Driver, Janet, Jim, Barry and Gus on Gracie Point (note, blue skies!)
The crew - Driver, Janet, Jim, Barry and Gus on Gracie Point (note, blue skies!)

Apparently, Gracie Point is named for a beloved pet, because the summit marker also was adorned with a dog collar and a number of dog tags from various "best friends."
High point along Skyline Ridge at Gracie Point
High point along Skyline Ridge at Gracie Point

We opted to drop off the summit to the north a bit to get out of the wind for lunch.
Lunch break below Gracie Point
Lunch break below Gracie Point

It was here that Janet, Jim and I played "Who can post to Facebook first?"  Immature adults should never be given technologies they are incompetent to truly master!!!   lol.gif

Jim was intent on getting "double digit" mileage today, so we ventured on, down from our lunch perch, to head along Skyline Ridge toward Roza Creek.
Heading down from our lunch spot back to the Skyline Ridge Trail to pick up a little more mileage!
Heading down from our lunch spot back to the Skyline Ridge Trail to pick up a little more mileage!

Janet headed back, as the three of us plus Gus went another 1/2 mile or so.  Satisfied that we didn't want to lose too much elevation, we turned back and opted to stick to the Skyline Ridge all the way back - rather than take the detour we took to Gracie Point.  We ran across a popular watering hole for horses who make this trek - it's called Twin Springs.
Twin Springs trail sign
Twin Springs trail sign

And, yes, there actually are twin springs! 
Twin Springs
Twin Springs

The winds were blowing pretty strong at this point . . .
Wind blowing pretty strong along ridge heading back
Wind blowing pretty strong along ridge heading back

Up until we reached the junction with the other trail up to Skyline Ridge, we hadn't seen another soul out today.  We were surprised, since it was such a nice day. On our way back, we did see two hikers and 4 dogs at the junction - not sure where they were headed.  Then, farther along the ridge, we saw three more hikers heading down - they hadn't ventured very far.  Then, trotting down the trail was a runner who had started from Ellensburg(!) and was headed to the trailhead where we started!  We were about a mile from he trailhead - and, sure enough, we saw him coming back our way just before we got back to the cars.  He assured us he wasn't running all the way back to Ellensburg  eek.gif , but he was looking for his friend.   confused.gif  Hopefully, they connected!  The wind had picked up quite a bit on our return trip, but the sun remained.  All-in-all, we probably got close to 11 miles and about 3250' of gain in about 5 hours, including our lunch break. A great trip to pick on what appeared to be a wash-out of a weekend!  Thanks, crew!   up.gif   We opted to take the Canyon Road back (scenic) and made great time across the Pass.  However, after dropping Janet off at SE 8th P&R, it tooks us about 45 minutes to get across Mercer Island on I-90  shakehead.gif a virtual parking lot!  Oh well.  Nice to have a brown hike and some sun.

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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tigermn
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Joined: 10 Jul 2007
Posts: 9251 | TRs
Location: There...
tigermn
Member
PostSat Mar 10, 2012 11:15 pm 
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I did this last year for the first time. Hit some of the flowers.  I too escaped the bad weather on the west side.

A trip report from 04/22/2011.

Which reminds me I have to try and get back there soon.

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My flickr photo site.
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TrailPair
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Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 1700 | TRs

TrailPair
Member
PostSun Mar 11, 2012 10:48 am 
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This trail was definitely built for horses, but in all five times I have done it I have never seen a horse.  It sure makes a nice, early season backpack trip.

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This thing called work is interfering with my play
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Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 1716 | TRs
Location: Welcome Pass
Sadie's Driver
Sadie's Driver
PostSun Mar 11, 2012 12:09 pm 
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Putz-in-Boots wrote:
Stats: for me I'm coming up with about 10 miles, 2700' gain.

You and James can duke it out!  Maybe because he's a little taller, he has more elevation gain and distance! wink.gif  embarassedlaugh.gif

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Four-paw buddy lets me tag along!
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Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 4075 | TRs
Location: Shoreline
Matt
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
PostSun Mar 11, 2012 12:29 pm 
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Definitely drier there.

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“As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
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Middle E
no more moustache



Joined: 10 Feb 2008
Posts: 432 | TRs
Location: Seattle, WA
Middle E
no more moustache
PostSun Mar 11, 2012 2:20 pm 
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Guess what, I didn't miss the snow at all!  ...though fortunately there was just enough for Gus to nibble on, since water is not to be found except at Twin Springs.

I kept looking for bighorn sheep, but saw none.  We did see a few deer, however, and the trail was thick with scat (coyote?).

Yakima Skyline view
Yakima Skyline view
Yakima Canyon
Yakima Canyon
Yakima skyline view
Yakima skyline view
Yakima skyline view
Yakima skyline view
Grass
Grass

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pithy yet insightful signature
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Sun and Fun on Skyline Ridge 03-10-2012
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