The forecast for the weekend was questionable but a break between fronts opened up today and - work be d*mned - I chose to seize the moment! Carpe hikum! My plan was to drive E until the windshield wipers started to squeak (the Peder & Karl method for finding a dry hike in winter). That thinking, with the fact that I hadn't hiked the Klickitat Rail Trail from the W, took me to the TH outside Wahkiacus. It was pouring on the way out along I-84 but sunshine looked promising as I headed up the trail.
There were some muddy areas on the trail/road but only in the first mile.
The sunshine lasted until about Trestle #8 when a blanket of gray gloom covered the sky. With the sky out of commission, I turned my attention to stuff along the trail like colorful lichen,
and the junk car (almost like one of Don's hikes off Palmer Mill Road ) just before Trestle #6.
By the time Trestle #4 took me across a pretty energetic Swale Creek,
the sun was starting to crawl out from behind the gray gloom,
and I could once again see my feet.
About 6.5 mi in, you come to a wide spot shown on some maps as "Swale" - possibly a siding, maintenance area, or watering stop on the old Lyle to Goldendale railroad.
I'd come down to "Swale" from Harms Rd on a previous hike, so this was my turn-around point. Thus, after a short lunch, I headed back - in pretty much full sunshine! Even had to take off a layer! With the sun shining to bring out the colors, this becomes a very visual canyon.
Just before reaching the TH, I looked back and saw that the moon was still up.
The warm and sunny second half of the hike redeemed the gray and gloomy first half, making for a really nice day on the trail. No flowers yet - lots of Stellar jays and squirrels, one scree of a Red-tailed hawk, and a grumpy Bald eagle in a tree. No people. 13.5 mi, 600' EG.
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Nice to see an early report on Swale and the creek raging a little. I take it the ticks were not alive and running. I call that wide area Swale Flats in the Field Guide.
Great choice for a hike, VM! It is amazing how much the sun brings out the colors in that canyon and your pictures really do that justice. Thanks for posting.