Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Climbing a Mountain

It has been on my list for a long time.  I wanted to someday be able to hike Badger Mountain.  In this arid and treeless region we have "mountains" with out trees.  Seems kind of weird, I know.  All our surrounding peaks have names like Saddle Back, Rattle Snake, Jump off Joe...but one of the most populated around here for hikers is a peak called Badger.

Several years ago my son was part of a group of folks around here that regularly hiked this mountain peak with out trails but just a big steep stomp up the side.  As the surrounding developments began to encroach upon this mountain, it became a last stand for sage loving mountain climbers.    They became known as "The Friends of Badger."  This group after tons of community effort and conservation campaigns were able to save this mountain top from developers.  Since the city has now adopted this area, they have put in trails and a park at the bottom.  This has become one extremely popular spot for Tri Citians to conquer.

It was on my list!  Someday...maybe?  Well after having had some success with loosing weight this spring, I thought maybe I would give it a try.  I would start off real slow and just try for a little bit of progress each time.  Actually the thought of getting started was quite overwhelming to me.  I have not been regularly exercising at all...except for my gardening.

Well I am happy to say that thanks to a new found friend who went up the mountain with me...I made it on the first try...albiet it took 2 1/4 hours =|   Slowly but surely we headed out a few times a week up the less traveled, less steep, longer back side of the mountain trail.
back side
Knowing good and well the steep shorter trail on the front side would be another whole ballgame.  Someday...maybe?  Well someday came sooner than we thought!   Last week when we came across a giant rattlesnake on the less traveled path we both knew were going to have to bite the bullet and try the front route.

My friend and I both attempted it separately last week and failed.  After our mutual failed attempt by Monday morning we decided to just do what we could and give this another shot...together.
a marker on the way to the top
Well....wait for it...dah dah...WE MADE IT!!!  I am still in shock and limping around in pain from the feat.  We were trying to keep it under 1 1/2 hours, so we jogged most of the way down.  Bad, bad, bad idea.  My knees were not happy about this down hill jog at all =)
elevation at the top1579 ft. 

What is so crazy about all this is how crowded this trail is with people alllll day long, of all ages.  However the high traffic pattern keeps the snakes away.  So I will continue my hiking, but no more jogging.  I will just have to gain my goal of doing this climb under an hour some other way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Wine Country

On a perfect fall day we took a drive for miles and miles up in the dry land wheat country traversing the Horse Heaven Hills outside of our city.  It was amazing how far we could see, as Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier came into view on our way to Wine Country.

We enjoyed a Grape Stomping Festival hosted by Mike Andrews, the owner of Coyote Canyon.  There was a barbecue and 22 teams stomping grapes.  Below we are heading out on a wagon ride around the vineyards accompanied by a country western singer and his guitar with a wagon load of folks singing some good old fashion country tunes.

Later on in the day we drove up to the highest point of the vineyard and took in the beauty of this place.

 This area is know as the Horse Heaven AVA (American Viticulture Areas)  Here is a link if you want to read a little bit more about Washington State's AVA's   LINK   Each AVA has enough of a difference in it's soil make up and it's climate to give the grapes grown in each region it's own distinction.  Washington's largest winery is smak dab in the middle of the Horse Heaven AVA.

One of the largest vineyards and most sought after grapes in this region is Coyote Canyon.  Mike Andrews who's ancestors homesteaded this land is the owner of this remarkable vineyard. Check out the link for his story.

 The green you see, is all Mike's vineyards.  He is surrounded by miles and miles of non irrigated wheat land.  He grows 1100 acres of grapes with water rights from well sources his father  and grandfather dug after WWII.

Looking down from the very pinnacle of his land.
 I am now looking up to the top of his property where Mike Andrews has made his statement of faith.
 Beyond the distant hills lies the great Columbia River.

 These are amazing forty foot crosses that can be viewed by all the surrounding land in sight.

 Here is a view of the crosses on the right.
The sun was setting as we headed back down for about a 40 minute ride home.  It was a perfect fall day in Washington's lovely wine country.   I left inspired and anxious to go home and get my paint box out.
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