Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice debris in the Yakima Canyon

Ah, how alive I feel after getting two more drives through on one of my favorite roads in Washington - the Yakima Canyon scenic highway drive! I just returned from a very relaxing, enjoyable, and successful presentation with The Cascadians as I noted previously and I drove through the Yakima Canyon going both to and from the area. What a story the river had to tell. Last year you'll see the incredible ice dam view of the river. This year the extreme cold of December must have really caused massive ice build-up in the river,

and the following rapid warm up not only melted much snow in the region but that run-off must have really raised the level of the frozen river. There were areas of the river that have massive ice

piles along the shores that are 10-15' above the level of the river! I wish I would have seen this area in early January before the warm up, or right after it. To say the least the ice nearly was up on the road in areas. Aside from the awe of the ice scene, I saw numerous flocks of Common Mergansers on the river and eight Bald Eagles. And, luckily for all of us, I saw the huge covey of quail in the road on a tight curve and was able to slow and not disturb their lazy morning stroll along the road. SR 823 is a gem of a peaceful place on this wonderful place we call home.

(photos: signs in the canyon; ice debris along the Yakima River near Roza Creek; ice debris and views toward Umtanum Ridge)