Hardy Canyon (May 5, 2012)

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hardy_canyon_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: longs pants (due to ticks and rattlesnakes)
Map: USGS Wenas Lake
Area: Selah
Reference: Desert Hikes Washington
Stats: 4.25mi, 890' gain (round trip)

Several years ago I'd been part way up Hardy Canyon. It was still early in the season for wildflowers in central Washington so I managed to talk Gwen into joining me on this trip.

The "trail" is pretty much a hike up an old, bermed, jeep road to the top of the Cleman Mountain ridge.

We got an early start, I picked Gwen up and we headed east over Snoqualmie Pass. We arrived at the TH. The TH is really just a wide spot in the road that has a gate across it. Walking trough the gate if felt like going through an amusement park turnstile. It's one of those zigzag entrances to deter those on bikes, or horses or anything other than foot. It was much hotter than expected, especially for early May.

We hiked up the road, crossing the minor stream", and continuing up in the open up an old series of roads. Lots and lots and lots of flowers out. Hardy canyon, at least lower down, has some of the best wildflowers I've seen in the area. We weren't disappointed. Lots of lupine, paintbrush, camas, phlox...to many too count. The place was awash in color.

This hike is in the Oak Creek State Wildlife area and in not open year around. Do a web search for current open/close dates and permitting issues.

Besides the flowers, this area is flush with all kinds of birds. Lots of chirping going on all over the place. We continued up the road, straight up the canyon. There was a spot where the old road was bermed. From this point up, the road/trail narrows. The brush starts to get a little overgrown. We watched our step keeping an eye out for ticks and rattlesnakes. We stopped often to photograph the color. About 2+ miles up the trail we stopped to admire a flowering shrub. We both wondered what it was. We never did find out... I don't recall what happened first...hearing Gwen shout "SNAKE" or seeing her in a mad dash headed downhill to the wider/less brush trail. It took a while for her yell to register...that's when the legs slowly got into first gear and I did my best to run/waddle towards Gwen. We'd both heard the rattle of the nearby snake. Gwen I guess just reacted MUCH faster than I did.

The snake encounter cut the trip short. Neither of us was willing to continue further up the increasingly narrow and brushy trail.

Since we had a bit of extra time on our hands, we took our time hiking out and then took a side trip to the Whiskey Dick Wind Farm visitor center to see what flowers were out that direction.
Hardy Canyon Slideshow

(click on map to view a larger version)

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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