Monthly Archives: November 2012

Dairy Canyon

I know there are springs scattered around this area but not knowing where they are, I was relieved to come upon a seep large enough to refill my water jugs. I saw a few deer and a couple of squirrels but not a lot of wildlife. Staying warm and dry was my primary concern when I started this cross county adventure now finding water was Key! Most of the draws I crossed did not have water but one had a good flow. It was too soon to camp for the day so I pressed on. Mostly I was walking through scattered Ponderosa pine and bitter brush and some aspens in the draws. A type of willow was, so far, my surest indicator of water. I eventually came upon a good spring and by the size of the tracks some very larger domestic bulls were coming there to drink. I made camp there and because I had water, I built a fire and got a good rest there.
After hiking for most of the next day now the 19th of June I came to a canyon so large and deep I decided not to cross it but follow up the west side which took me in a NNW direction. This may have been Dairy canyon? I eventually found a spring in the draw when I got within sight of the top. So I loaded my one gallon plastic jug and proceeded to the top or near the top of this east end of the Simcoe Mt. range.
I found a dry wash and made my evening fire, there. I was not as “together” as I hoped to be concerning my food preparation… Almost everything I brought required cooking and I was totally dependent on having a fire, but that simply was not possible in this country, this time of year. I did not take this into account and got a very upset stomach from some uncooked grains (I think) got really sick this night and did not get much sleep. Before breaking camp I threw out my dried re-fried beans that did not agree with me, and walked on. My diet now was reduced to dried fruit and some nuts and seed that I had ground into meal.

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A hunting party
Sometimes has a greater chance
Of flushing love and God
Out into the open
Than a warrior
All alone.
Hafiz

June 17th 2012 Before I started this leg of my journey to the more easterly parts of the county, I bought a different new/used pair of shoes, still a kind of “tennis shoe” made in China ,called “cross treckkers”,but way more comfortable. They cost 8 dollars.
Suzan Holmes accompanied me on the first day of my journey; cross country from Ekone Ranch to the Horse Heaven Hills.
We walked out past Ekone’s “green” cemetery and from there we could see the pretty canyon on the other side. The one we wanted to explore. We walked south for a ways along the rim of Rock Creek Canyon enjoying the views; north, east and south. We paused at the trail head, on old logging road that goes down in. I always recall the time back in the 70’s when I packed a horse loaded with blankets and tarps and put on a sweat lodge ceremony for Ray Mitchell Jennifer and Ray’s brother Rodney. (Ray was the founder of Ekone Ranch.)
We took our time hiking down through Rock Creek Canyon filling our water jugs and hiked up the other side, enjoying the spring flowers and the sunshine. When we got to the big pines that grow near the mouth of this draw before it drops off steep into Rock Creek we found a healthy flow of water. So we explored around and found some patches of camas, some brodea and some cat’s eye lilies. Then we followed the draw up and saw some of the largest tiger lilies I have ever seen. We continued up the draw looking for our evening campsite. We found some hawthorn trees with lots of berries on them and one of the largest service berry bush, turned tree that I have ever seen. We chose our camp not far from a grove of large cotton wood trees.
It was too windy for a fire and too dry so we set up our tarps and got ready for the night, sipping whisky, telling stories and exchanging thoughts about camping gear. We didn’t know we had camped so close to Box Canyon Road until a 4 wheeler drove by and apparently drove to the locked gate then turned around and drove back. We had a good rest there and in the morning it was calm so I built a fire with the dead twigs from a large rose bush. The wisps of smoke from this fire were very aromatic,
A delight to the senses. We enjoyed this sprightly little fire that helped us make tea and breakfast.
We soaked our fire and stirred it completely out then went our separate ways. Suzan went back to Ekone I kept a walking in a general NNE direction, toward the horse heaven hills, my ultimate goal. After forty years I finally make the time to explore this remote, beautiful area of Klickitat County!

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sweet water

I walked on until I came to a secluded mini canyon with abundant sweet water in it and camped for the night, built a small fire, cooked my supper and had a good rest their. was the loveliest water I have ever tasted!
I noticed the farther east I got on this trip the dryer and more brittle the vegetation became and my “common sense” comfort level; of having a fire, was being compromised. Before I left the next morning I made sure my camp fire was doused thoroughly.
I pretty soon crossed the first road going north and south. It was paved. After a while I came to the next north south road, it was gravel. I rested there awhile and almost decided to cross the Little Klickitat and hike along its north side, and from the looks of that way, as I went along the south side, it would have been the better choice! As I hiked along the South side I began to get very fenced in and hemmed in by the ever increasing and smaller fenced areas.
I came across a large pile of stones that I assumed had been gathered from the field but it was a circle of stones about three feet high so I rested there in the center, in the sun, out of the wind and out of anyone’s view!
And I did feel blessed to find this spot! But shortly there after I came to the worst bottle neck area and the only way I got through was the only way the coyotes got through, they had busted a hole in the bottom of the fence. I had to crawl through this and then drag my pack after me! Wow, don’t fence me in! I had to hand it to the coyotes for their persistence! I eventually had to go through someone’s back yard to come out on to the highway, Whew! I spent the rest of that day walking into Goldendale along Horse Shoe Bend Road.
After visiting friends on Collins Street I walked across town. I could not tell by any subtle or overt nuance in the “pulse” of Goldendale, that I had arrived on High School Graduation night!
I was invited by my long time friends to spend the night at their home, so I did.
Also I was in a race against time to get my purple corn seed planted at Ekone Ranch. This seed that I have hand selected for the last eight years and just carried on my back for the last 6 days, so I called for a ride and was picked up in the morning and Susan Holmes and myself got the corn planted on the 10th of June, young David helped too! Five days later than I have ever planted it!
I volunteered my time at Ekone for a few days; helping out with some of the many chores a ranch or homestead has. I built a much needed gate for the garden as a token of my appreciation of the ranch letting me plant my purple corn, there.

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horse shoe bend

Reed informed me that the building was the office complex for the Yakima Indian Nation Fish enhancement experiments. And most of the people who worked there were white men fish biologists.
I cut the lining out of my brother’s gortex rain coat and Reed took the outer, defunct shell, as garbage! I kept the lining for a little more insulation. And Reed lent me his personal rain coat for the rest of my hike. I lent him my light weight binoculars as a kind of collateral in case anything happened to his coat. Had Reed not been able to resupply me I would have had to abort the mission, so I was very thankful? I paid him for the supplies and he went back to his normal life.
I was having a nice evening there when another fellow fish biologist came up and asked me where I was going to go to the bathroom. I told him I would burn it up in the fire. Well he said he did not want his dog rubbing it and offered me the use of their out house that was at the end of the road that went past the buildings. I thanked him and said sure I would do that.
Along about 5 or 6 pm apparently the last man to leave the fish experimental place was pulling out, and then he saw my camp and turned around and drove up, got out of his rig and in a gruff manner asked me what I was doing there. I told him my story and that the first man had given me permission and he asked me what he looked like and I said well he did not look like an Indian. After hearing most of my story he began to soften up a little and we had a pretty good conversation, in closing he said that the next time I came through there I had better hide better!
I had no more encounters with human beings and there was almost no traffic on that end of Horse Shoe Bend Road. I liked that… It was also an interesting spot because on the other side of my camp was the Rails to Trail, trail. I noticed that some people were driving there cars on the trail and had a key to the gate?
This amazing and beautiful place has a “contested” feel to it; an intensity of cross roads, river and trail and a joining of canyons where Swell Creek comes in.
The next day, now the 8th of June I walk up Horse Shoe Bend Road leaving my camp as usual; as no trace, as humanly possible, with the exception of screening my fire pit of bits of charcoal, I do my best to leave no trace of my presence.
I really like this road going up the side of Klickitat Canyon, a pretty steep grade for a horse and cart but probably doable. I took a break near the top and noticed there was water in the creek. After about 5 miles I got to the very top of the break and realized I did not want to follow the actual road because there were no trees for shelter and possibly no drinkable water and the road was strait with the exception of 90 degree turns. And camping on the windy, cold ,open farm land, with someone’s window staring out at me did not feel good at the time.
So I headed out nearly strait east across some pastures of the horse shoe bend ranch land. Admittedly now trespassing. This did not feel good. The sign did not say I would be prosecuted so I took my chances. I walked toward one of the south branches of the little Klickitat River where there were trees and low places to walk along unseen. A four wheeler passed near me once when I was resting among some boulders. I was sending out my prayers of invisibility and was walking along where the open land meets the timbered land and walked right by what looked like one of the caretakers places and was not seen and the dogs did not bark.

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Brother Jim

I was a little cold from no morning fire and it started to rain. My older brother Jim had recently died and I inherited his gortex rain coat but it leaked. I was getting more wet and cold as I walked down into the canyon. Oddly enough my lips were getting dry also and I found some chap stick that Jim had left in his coat. When I took the cap off the Chap Stick tube I saw that it had been used and I thought that his lips were probably the last to touch this. I hesitated before I touched it to my lips; thinking, this was our last kiss, our final good-bye. A strange twist of fate because other wise this coat was about to be the death of me!
By the time I got to the bottom of the canyon I was seriously cold and wet. I walked over the bridge beyond the river and built a fire along side this road (horse shoe bend) and about a quarter mile from a building. I was kind of hoping someone would find me , I was not sure I was going to be able to get a fire lit. I was so cold and shaky but I did finally get a fire going and found a bunch of pine knots full of pitch. So I started to relax and stopped shaking. I set up my tarp and was feeling much better.
I was drying my wet clothes, when a man drove up and asked me if I knew whose land I was camping on? I said no, I did not. He said well you are camping on Indian Land. I said to myself; well you don’t look like an Indian. I told him I had just walked here from Trout Lake and I could see that kind of change the tone of our relationship right away. I told him why I built my fire where I did and how I was hoping someone would find me. Fortunately he was nice guy and let me camp there for the rest of the day and that night
After a while Reed showed up with a roasted chicken and everything that I had asked him to bring! I ate almost half of that chicken. I was very hungry. Reed informed me

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Cool Morning

The morning was cool and everything was dripping wet but no rain, after a couple of miles I came to a concrete bridge with a lot of water slowly flowing underneath and it was full of swallow nests some only 16” from the water. The little swallows were flying everywhere, cute little puffy ones; they seemed fatter than most swallows I have seen. I rested there for a while and enjoyed their presence. All other bird life seems to be hunkering down, after the storm.

When I got to the black top hiway I met some county road workers. I talked with them a little bit; some of them knew me and all of them I talked to were from TroutLake or BZ Corners. They were clearing out the sides of the road. I told them I was scouting a route for my horse and cart and I was going to bring my horse and cart back this way and the woman from  TroutLake , Tyane Parker, wished me luck on both ventures. I asked if she had any ideas what I could use for my sore feet and she suggested the fuzzy leaf mullein!

I was wearing these “tennis shoes” that were called air Jordan’s that I bought at the Trout Lake Annual rummage sale for about 3 dollars and they were starting to hurt my feet. I started putting mullin leaves in the bottoms of my shoes and kept on going.

I took an old road that I saw on goggle earth just before Fisher Hill Road and it was a good short cut. When I got up to Fisher Hill Road I saw it had been paved since the last time I had been on it. I couldn’t believe it was paved considering how much it is used! Anyway, I took a rest there, right at the top; where there is a little meadow and good view of the Mountain.

I kept walking and now this was the 5th of June. Maybe a car or pickup every hour or so went by. I passed some water on my left and a gated road but kept going. And then Wow, there was a beautiful old home stead with no buildings, so I went in there and found a camp site, well off the road. There was a shallow lake bed with pleanty of water in it.  A really beautiful place, an old corral, some big trees and aspen groves.

Whether a lack of funding, or the good nature of the homesteaders;   the place still held the reflection of an appreciation of the land and what it had and had not to offer.

I found a safe place to build a fire and I found a large old pine knot that was so full of pitch that it probably would not rot in a hundred years. It burned most of the night.
It is so comforting to have a fire all ready to start up easily, on a cold morning!

After fixing my breakfast and applying mullein leaves to my feet with fresh pitch as a kind of medicinal glue. I walked on and realized I was not far from the Whakiakus Heights Road. The sign said nine and a half miles to Whakiakus.

I walked down that road thinking it would be a good road for a bare foot horse and tried to observe where there might be feed and water for Taboona. I walked until I got to the edge of the breaks of the KlickitatRiver. As I went along, there were  more and more houses so the next best opportunity to get away from the road and camp where I was not in someone’s back yard, I took it. It was a dry camp. No water, so I built a very small fire to cook my evening meal and then put it out and made sure it was dead before I took off in the morning.
I text my son Reed and asked if he could meet me at the River and resupply me, as I knew I would not have service down in the canyon.

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Later that night

(“The truth of necessity therefore is freedom.”  Russian Proverb)

 

     I chose aspot that seemed unlikely but in fact served me well. It was a lovely evening. The marsh birds sounded like they were having a great time also. Even though there was a beautiful red sunset it started to rain in the night, and continued all night. I got wet, and it continued to rain all day and even the birds stopped singing. I didn’t have a very good shelter; an old tent that I hadn’t used for a long time and had lost some of its water proofing. It leaked when the big drops fell off the trees. But I had a plastic bag and I had some dental floss so I picked some little buds off the balsam root plants that were blooming there and puckered one in each corner to tie up the bag as a small tarp. Now I had an extension for my shelter which created a dry spot large enough to sleep under.

      Strangely enough there were no mosquitoes and I was lucky, because I did not prepare for them and they can be a “deal breaker!

       At this place and time having a fire was safe and a necessity. I dried out my sleeping bag and clothes that got wet. I waited out the day in a kind of; state of prayer that I would not be discovered as I had no intention of bothering anyone and did not want to be bothered in turn. Someone walked by me with a dog, but even the dog did not pick up my scent! I walked around bare foot gathering wood and water as I needed it. I had a good sleep during the rain and stayed completely dry. I was lucky that I had everything I needed. It rained most of the night but stopped before morning so I broke camp and continued my hike.

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Colder Morning

      I was a little cold from no morning fire and it started to rain. My older brother Jim had recently died and I inherited his gortex rain coat but it leaked. I was getting more wet and cold as I walked down into the canyon. Oddly enough my lips were getting dry also and I found some chap stick that Jim had left in his coat. When I took the cap off the Chap Stick tube I saw that it had been used and I thought that his lips were probably the last to touch this. I hesitated before I touched it to my lips; thinking, this was our last kiss, our final good-bye. A strange twist of fate because other wise this coat was about to be the death of me!

      By the time I got to the bottom of the canyon I was seriously cold and wet. I walked over the bridge beyond the river and built a fire along side this road (horse shoe bend) and about a quarter mile from a building.  I was kind of hoping someone would find me , I was not sure I was going to be able to get a fire lit. I was so cold and shaky but I did finally get a fire going and found a bunch of pine knots full of pitch. So I started to relax and stopped shaking.  I set up my tarp and was feeling much better.

      I was drying my wet clothes, when a man drove up and asked me if I knew whose land I was camping on? I said no, I did not. He said well you are camping on IndianLand. I said to myself; well you don’t look like an Indian. I told him I had just walked here from TroutLake and I could see that kind of change the tone of our relationship right away. I told him why I built my fire where I did and how I was hoping someone would find me. Fortunately he was nice guy and let me camp there for the rest of the day and that night

     After a while Reed showed up with a roasted chicken and everything that I had asked him to bring! I ate almost half of that chicken. I was very hungry.   Reed informed me that the building was the office complex for the Yakima Indian Nation Fish enhancement experiments. And most of the people who worked there were white men fish biologists.

       I cut the lining out of my brother’s gortex rain coat and Reed took the outer, defunct shell, as garbage! I kept the lining for a little more insulation. And Reed lent me his personal rain coat for the rest of my hike. I lent him my light weight binoculars as a kind of collateral in case anything happene