For my first adventure of the year, I returned to an area that has held my fascination for some years - the Klickitat River. This time, I drove down to Lyle with the intention of boon-docking for the night at the Icehouse Campground - this is where natural, carbonated spring water bubbles out of the ground, and hiking and biking the Klickitat Trail through Swale Canyon. A bottling plant used to be located here, but time and decay have reduced it to merely one decrepit, ornately stuccoed roost for Vaux's swifts. The canyon is closed in the summer for fire danger.
I spent my first day biking up the canyon, as far as the bridge shown below. I regret being in such a hurry that I didn't stop to take photos. The scenery was impressive, but I was having more fun riding along the gentle grade between increasingly imposing canyon walls. Oak and pine dominate the area, and I can see that in the early season, wildflowers will be amazing.
There are also many waterfalls as one wanders deeper into the canyon, and those should be interesting as spring progresses. I didn't see much for wildlife this first day, but I did encounter a handful of cabins in varying state of disrepair. I could not really tell if any were in current use, and there was a lot of junk near most of them. Some were rather funky looking, tho!
I made it back to my truck, and pulled in to the camping area as dark fell, and I parked right next to the river - what a sweet song to sleep to! A van with a similar boon-docking agenda pulled up well after dark, and left in the morning before me at first light.
For my second day of adventure, I drove up Horseshoe Bend road, through a small, steep canyon chock full of interesting rock formations, to Horseshoe Bend Ranch, eventually parking at the other end of Swale Canyon trail, at the Harms Rd trail head. The weather was colder, grayer, and rain was trying to move in. I walked the trail down to the bridge where I had turned around the night before, but took more time for photography. Hence, the photos below are all from this upper portion of the canyon, on my second day.
After turning about at the bridge, I then followed the trail back, and beyond, to the (future) Warwick trail head. And I'm glad I did! I don't often encounter porcupines, but this sweet little pincushion was happy to simply snooze and pose for me. Until I came back around for a second photo shoot on my return trip, that is, necessitating retreat into a burrow.
I would like to visit the Swale Canyon portion of the Klickitat Trail throughout the seasons - I suspect there is always something different to see.
Images taken January 22, 2019 along the Swale Canyon portion of the Klickitat Trail, Klickitat County, WA