Tieton River

Trail Difficulty – Easy (Not Really)

Trail Type – Nature Trail/TowPath

Distance – 7.2 miles

Elevation Gain – 500 Feet

Camera in hand we headed out for Hike 10 and the Weekly Photo Challenge; Journey to the South Fork Tieton River.  This week I learned that trail guides lie – either that or they are written by 20 year olds.  Our plan is to work up to 11 miles and then tackle elevation.  This path was listed as “easy” with an elevation gain of 500 feet.  I am pretty sure I walked the elevation multiple times.

We pretty much had the trail all to ourselves; there has been a fire ten years ago and the area was still recovering. You could still smelled charred trees occasionally and the views were breathtaking – well, I was out of breath anyway.

Right at the trail head we encountered a problem – there was a suspension bridge.  I was very brave.

bridge, suspension, hike

Journey over water

Having braved the bridge of death, I continued on. Half a mile in I was aware that I had made a mistake – this was not a leisurely stroll in the woods.  Fortunately, nature kept me hooked as I chased this butterfly.

Butterfly, travel, hike, nature

Traveler’s Rest

As we moved through a meadow filled with scrub oaks, we started to ascend again – at this point I was either going to push on or go back not meeting my goal of 7 miles.  The path got narrow …

path, hiking, nature

Incredible Journey

Then it got scary.

bridge, hike, travel, nature

Scary Journey

Towards the end of the trail we finally started seeing chipmunks – this one clearly thought it was invisible as I took about 30 shots and he is frozen in the same place in all of them.

chipmunk, travel, hike, nature

Fellow Traveler

Finally at the end of the trail we sat to enjoy the view and catch our breath until we realized we were under surveillance.

Alpaca, travel, hike, nature

Travel Security

My Poor Long-Suffering Husband joked that the Alpaca was going to get us – but we stopped laughing when he started to follow us.  We decided to be adventurous and avoid being eaten by following the path next to the irrigation canal.

Canal, irrigation, hike, nature

Traveling Water

After a mile or so I looked back and saw something white – my husband said it was a bag and looked through the binoculars.  It was the Alpaca – he stopped laughing again and urged me to walk faster.

alpaca, hiking, journey


While we were walking we could hear a grouse vocalizing his mating call; then we saw him.  Grouse have bright-colored inflatable sacs on the sides of their necks – I was able to wait for him to vocalize and get a picture before my husband nervously said he lost sight of the Alpaca.  Comforted by his courage and bravery, we moved on.

Grouse, hike, travel, nature

Traveling for Love

Finally safe from the rabid wool machine, we descended down a switch back to ground level. I was too terrified to take photos.

While we’re not ready to gain elevation yet, I am glad I stuck with the trail. It was an amazing day – though I almost slept in my car to avoid walking up the stairs to my bedroom.

I can’t wait to see what happens next week.


31 thoughts on “Tieton River

    • Great point helihu! We have about ten shots of him following us – I was being stalked by the Inca Trail – the fact I couldn’t breath hardened my resolve to quit smoking.

      It is a sign.

  1. I’m pretty sure that alpaca aren’t native to the states…you probably could have had yourself a new pet!

    Sounds like your hike was really wonderful, and I’m proud of you for the distance and elevation. Keep up the great work! and take a moment to revel in all that you have accomplished

    PS LOVE the butterfly!!!

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  3. Although it sounded a bit challenging versus “easy,” from our end it was definitely entertaining! Does that help? And I definitely second (or third?) that the Alpaca had to be a sign … I mean, really? How often do you stumble across an Alpaca? Lovely shots, and YaY you for doing 7 miles! And the bridge! Oh my!!!!

  4. I’m pretty sure that was a mutant zombie alpaca. You just got out with your life. Either that, or somebody’s lost pet, hoping to find a new people.

    Glad you made the hike. This makes me wonder if 500-ft. gain really means got up 1500 feet and back down 1000 feet.

  5. Now THIS is what I call a hike ! What a great hike you went on, and love the butterfly and the stalking Alpaca. Now that you’re getting off the pavement, get a couple of walking sticks. You can get a cheap pair at Walmart/Target. Just make sure they stay locked when the extend. They’ll help you with the inclines and iffy areas that you’ve got to cross.

    • LOL – this is the first one that actually felt like a hike and not a stroll…I did use a walking stick we got on the trail, it made all the difference towards the end. I would love to get a real one…

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