Little Naches

Trail Difficulty – Easy

Trail Type – Road/off-trail

Distance – 9.2 miles

Elevation Gain – 170 Feet

Camera in hand we headed out for Hike 12 and the Weekly Photo Challenge; Sun on the Little Naches River.

Finding established trails with the length we need is still a challenge; we drove up to a mountain pass that is still closed and walked up trails as we found them.  We only saw about ten cars the whole day.

The first time we went off trail we discovered something a little worrisome; footprints in the sand.  A couple of miles later we saw a Coyote that dodged my camera, but to me it looked like Cougar tracks.

Tracks, sand, nature, hike

Worrisome footprints

The day became even more ominous when we looked up and saw Turkey Vultures circling the treeline. The wingspan on the second one in the trees was impressive. We started to get a little nervous.

Turkey Vultures, hike, nature

Turkey Vultures Hunting

We came across a nice open stand of Ponderosa Pine that had been burned at some point – while taking a picture of the incredible bark, we saw the Mayfly.  In this phase, he only had a few more hours to live and was spending time basking in the sun.

Mayfly, Sitka Spruce, nature, hike

When the sun is gone, so is this Mayfly.

There was a lot of run-off from the snowpack melting creating mini-waterfalls everywhere.

sun, water, nature hike

I love water and sun combined

We saw the next waterfall it temporarily confused us – the water appeared to disappear and it drained into an underground channel.

waterfall, nature, hike

The Disappearing Waterfall

We left the road and went off trail and were surprised to find an empty campground at the top – the sun was making quick work of the snow.

snow, sun, nature, hike

The sun at work

On the way home, we stopped at walked around a small lake when we discovered a pair of ducks enjoying some quality time – if anyone knows the breed I would love to find out – they were striking, especially their eyes.

Ducks, hike, nature

The remains of the day

We hiked a little over 9 miles – in two weeks we will start working on elevation. It was an amazing day.

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


46 thoughts on “Little Naches

  1. RTCN, your comment on the duck’s eyes was brilliant. They must have been striking. You saw a mated pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye ducks. Enjoy your Monday!

  2. Mountain lion (cougar) tracks are generally 5 to 6 inches across, much larger than your hand. Bobcats are about half that. Coyotes outnumber wolves by the millions, but you never know. 😉 Sounds like a great hike.

  3. What a beautiful place; it sounds like you guys had an excellent hike! I miss living around places like this…one day, one day!

    Also, I love your description of the mayfly. “….he only had a few more hours to live and was spending time basking in the sun.” If that’s not a good testament to go out and seize the day, I don’t know what is.

  4. Beautiful pics! Wisht I was there with you. Virginia Beach is so odiously flat and featureless, and I need substantial “bumps on the landscape,” not to mention ample tree cover, to feel at home.

    • Me too Michael – maybe a hike like this could burn up Jasper’s energy 🙂 We are very blessed to live so close to a mountain range – the only thing I miss is being close to water and the beach.

      • Yeah… That’s why I still think of myself as a Washingtonite – the ocean, Puget Sound, Cascades, Olympics, forests and glades, etc. etc. ad infinitum, but never ad nauseam. And I really haven’t been back since I joined the Navy in 1975, except for short visits here and there.

        Maybe when my best beloved retires from teaching, which is only a few years away…

        • Flat, boring, featureless Virginia Beach, which has nothing I like except the ocean. The highest “mountain” here is Mount Trashmore, an artificial mound that used to be a city dump and that was covered up and built up, and is now a public park and playground. Sigh…
          Here’s a good piece of (tongue in cheek) advice: never fall in love with a woman just as you’re retiring from the Navy if she’s ensconced in some profession in the area where you’re retiring. If you HAVE to fall in love with her, don’t marry her unless she’s willing to relocate. Which is very hard for a teacher with almost 20 years in the local system. So I’m stuck for a few more years until she retires, and have to drive for hours to see real “bumps” on the landscape and real woods.

        • You made me laugh Michael – my husband and I met just as he was retiring from the Navy and he moved to my hometown – fortunately it is 60 miles away from his hometown 🙂

  5. I’m not really sure what coyote tracks look like, but I know what a coyote looks like up close! My hubby and I have run into them a couple of time on our bike rides. Thank goodness we were on bikes and were able to turn around!! If we were hiking and ran into one I’m not really sure what we would do! Looks like a great hike 🙂 Very nice pics 🙂

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