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Sagebrush Steppe Guided Hike in the Yakima Canyon with Kim & Chris Chisholm

This is a professionally-guided hike sponsored by the Wolf College, and permissions have been secured from regulating agencies. Our Sunday Afternoon Hikes normally cost $45 per adult, and $35 per accompanied youth, but as part of our Northwest Nature Hikes kick-off, we are offering this hike to everyone at the youth rate, so the total cost is $35 per person for this hike. $15 non-refundable deposits are required to reserve your space, with the balance due before we start the hike. The non-refundable deposit is designed to be high enough to cover our administrative expenses and make sure almost all the people who register do show up, but low enough for you to stomach in case you don't want to attend due to "bad" weather, illness, transportation problems, etc.

Join us for another great Northwest Nature Hike into the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area in the Yakima Canyon with Kim & Chris Chisholm, specialists in survival, birding, wildlife tracking, wild edible and medicinal plants, and other outdoors skills they've gained from years as volunteers for King County Search & Rescue, as students of various schools and universities, as directors of the Wolf College since 1997. In fact, the Umtanum Canyon is the place where Wolf Camp was first envisioned! Raining on the west side? Try the Yakima Canyon for sun!

Hike Focus: How can the world be so different just 2 hours from Seattle? Chris & Kim will guide you over the 150 foot suspension bridge and into a world of learning about water-carved volcanic rock, tracks of animals visible for great distances, myriad birds and the meaning of their voices, and emerging wild edible and medicinal plants of the sagebrush steppe.  We'll also practice safety in case of encounters with cougar, bear, rattlesnake and other critters.

Hike Description: Stunning yellow and orange lichen line basalt cliffs, a pretty creek surrounded by quacking aspen, willows, and blue elder pierce the heart of the canyon, while sagebrush and prickly-pear cactus surrounded a plethora of lesser-known wildflowers in bloom at the end of March. In addition to all the animals you’d expect to see in the high desert— deer, coyotes, rabbits, rattlesnakes, and a sizable herd of bighorn sheep roam the canyon upper reaches of the canyon. Beavers have claimed large sections of the creek, creating vast pools behind tall dams. Porcupine rest by day in long-abandoned fruit trees. Peregrine falcon, golden eagles, great horned owl, and a plethora of songbirds like canyon wren, mockingbirds, and more fill the air.

Should normally be able to walk 3 miles with a day pack.
Prerequisites: None.
Required Gear: The 10 Essentials are highly recommended for every hike.
Rules: Registration form with liability waiver must be signed at start of hike. Dogs: Well-behaved dogs are welcome (including our Lily the border collie) but on leash at all times.

Additional Costs: There is a $3 parking fee during summer months, but otherwise, your travel and 10 essentials should be your only other expenses besides our guiding fee, and if you want to carpool with other participants, please give drivers $5-$30 as described below.

Directions & Carpooling Maps:

Either meet at the Umtanum Canyon Trailhead at 11:00 sharp, or meet us at the Ellensburg Travel J Plaza at 10:30 with $5 to drivers; or the Cle Elum Safeway at 10:00 with $10 to drivers. Otherwise, we can put you in contact with other participants meeting at the North Bend McDonalds at 9:00 AM with a recommended $15 to drivers; or the Issaquah Transit Parking Ramp at 8:45 with a recommended $20 to drivers; or the South Bellevue P&R on South Bellevue Way at 8:30 with a recommended $25 to drivers; or the Seattle Amtrak - King Street Station lower level between 8:00-8:15 with a recommended $30 to drivers, but please note that the only parking available there is the Union Station Parking Ramp which costs about $10 for day parking.

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  • Chris C.

    Thursday Update: We currently have 8 people registered for Sunday. Kim and I will be driving over on Friday afternoon to do some wolf tracking in the Teanaway River area, so we're not available to carpool. However, there are 4 people from Seattle possibly carpooling, so if let us know by Saturday if you would like to join in. Also note that there is camping available at the Umtanum Trailhead in case you would like to head over there Saturday.

    March 27, 2014

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