White Bluffs (North) (Mar 3, 2013)

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white_bluffs_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Locke Island
Area: Yakima
Reference: Desert Hikes Washington
Stats: 5.67mi, 568' gain (round trip)

Injuries are frustrating! Dang foot fracture has had me sidelined for two months. PT gave me the go ahead to start pushing it this weekend. Well after sitting around for 8 weeks there is only so much pushing this body can do. I wanted to stay off the snow until I knew how the foot would do. A check of the weather showed it was looking really good east. Really nice. Just a bit windy though...

I was at White Bluffs last year. It seemed like a nice enough place to return to. I'd hoped to hike further this time.

Its a long drive. I90>SR26>SR243>SR24>Wahluke National Wildlife Refuge Road. Took about 3 hours to get there. I'd have been there sooner except for the near winter driving conditions heading over Snoqualmie Pass. Yikes.

I arrived and the place was deserted. Time to put some boots on. It's been a while since I've done that. Felt good. Then off I was following a faint boot path. I stayed low. The higher up I got, the windier it got. That was OK at first since I was really still in the scrub area. The closer I got to the sand dunes, that changed. Grit in my mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. It's just sand I thought. Up and over the first big sand dune. I continued on toward the next large dune. The wind picked up more sand in the eyes. I needed goggles. Seriously. I was squinting and shielding my eyes from the blowing sand. It was useless. I'd gone about 3 miles, and then finally turned around just shy of the second large dune.

On the way back I stayed low again. There is a trail higher up (trail...maybe a game path). At least heading south the wind was at my back. I rounded a corner in the "trail" and nearly bumped into a coyote. It couldn't hear me approach because of the blowing wind and sand. I was about 20 feet from it. What should I do? I clamped my hands a couple of times and it turned around, say me, tucked it's tail between it's legs and it beat the heck out of dodge. Ratz...I should have taken a photo of the little thing before scaring it off. Oh well...

I found a nice spot for lunch overlooking the Columbia that for some reason was sheltered from the wind. It was nice and sunny out. Beautiful blue skies. Stop though and it gets cold. Jacket went on before I sat down. I lingered a bit...nice feeling...having a place to myself...

I got back to the car around 12:30pm. 6 miles in less than 3 hours...

It sure felt good to be out.
White Bluffs (North) Slideshow

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Copyright Janet M. Putz
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