Saturday, November 28, 2009

Wenatchee Foothills
Blossoming greenbelt on the edge of the Apple Capital

It’s a short hike to the top of Saddle Rock, an imposing monolith of andesite cliffs rising above the Central Washington city of Wenatchee. But it’s a steep climb to this locally prominent landmark. Once used by miners searching for mineral riches, the trail now grants determined hikers with scenic rewards. From the notched ridge that hovers 1,000 feet directly above the self-proclaimed Apple Capital of the World, a diverse landscape on the urban fringe is revealed.
Face west and view rows of evergreen-draped ridges yielding to lofty craggy Cascade peaks. Stare east at golden slopes and basaltic canyons radiating from the desert-steppe Columbia Plateau. Then cast your eyes north and south upon the Northwest’s mightiest river, the Columbia. Here it cuts a deep gorge into the heart of the state bringing life to the bustling center of commerce, recreation, and industry below. You are smack dab at one of the most dramatic transition zones in the Pacific Northwest—where its lush coastal mountains and forests converge with its interior sun-baked arid plateaus.
And here at Saddle Rock you can look north and south and witness another dramatic transition zone, one between urban and wild. Cradling the bustling city below is a western flank of steep buttes, sage covered hills and pine draped knolls, collectively known as the Wenatchee Foothills. And containing the growing city from marching up upon them is not the hills’ rugged physical nature, but the resolute drive of hundreds of local citizens determined to see this scenic and ecologically rich front remain wild.

Read the rest in this issue of Adventures Northwest Magazine

No comments: