Thursday, October 22, 2009

Misery Loves Company
or rather I love Misery!

I love the Blues and I love Misery! Let me explain. That is, I love the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington and the Mount Misery Trail which traverses them. I just got back from a week long trip in eastern Washington which had me pitching my books in Kennewick, Spokane, and Chelan and hitting the trail doing research for my Backpacking Book in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness and the Salmo-Priest Wilderness. These two federally prtoected wilderness areas are among only three wilderness areas (the other being Juniper Dunes) in all of eastern Washington. But both the Salmo-Priest and the Wenaha-Tucannon are among the wildest of all of our wildernesses. I spent 19 miles hiking the Mount Misery highline one day in which I only encountered a couple of hunters setting up their camps for opening day. On my drive out, just past the trailhead I watched in amazement a cougar trot across the road! It was the first time in my 20 years hiking the trails of Washington state that I finally witnessed one of these large and impressive beasties. Glad I saw it from behind the wheel than in front of my boots! I'm a cat person, but who knows how the cougar feels about it. And I'm a UW grad too, and I was deep in cougar country so it was best to lay low! Seriously though, if you haven't hiked yet the mile high ridges and crusied above the deep canyons of the Blues-a truly unique section of our state -you are in for a real treat. But avoid this place in the height and heat of summer. Fall is best! But Fall is when this area sees the most human visitation-the hunting here is legendary. Wear your orange and hike away the blues today!

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