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Hardy Canyon, Wenas Wildlife Area
May 2008


Synopsis

Even with the record heat that was about the hit the westside, we decided we had to get away for a possibly hotter weekend camping trip in Eastern Washington. We decided on Hardy Canyon in the Wenas Wildlife Area. We couldn't find much information about the area so we didn't know what to expect for camping. Wenas Wildlife Area is known for the elk populations and the feeding station in the winter. When we got there we were pleasantly surprised by the abundance of wildflowers in bloom and the bird activity. We set up camp on the closed entrance road that originally lead to Hardy Canyon. (The entrance is now moved down the road through where the hay is stored.)

Down in Wenas Valley the flora was in full bloom with Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Lupines, Phlox, Desert Parsley, Death Camas, Camas, and onions coloring the grassy hillsides. The antelope bushes were also in bloom despite the heavy grazing by the high concentration of elk in the area during the winter. Yellow-breasted Chats, Wilson's, Yellow, and Townsend's Warbler, and American Goldfinches contributed to the cacophany of bird calls among the cottonwoods. Common Snipes winnowed over the open meadows and a Ruffed Grouse drummed in the distance.

The hike up the canyon was pleasant in the early morning. Despite the "trail" being a road, which is sometimes used by ATVs and perhaps the foolish full size 4x4, the path up the canyon was enjoyable. At the mouth of the canyon the trail climbed around the elk fencing before dropping next to the canyon creek. Thickets of hawthorn, bitter cherry, and serviceberry grew in a dense wall along the stream. A mile up the canyon, cottonwood grew over the creek. The hillsides were covered in spring flowers colors. Nashville Warblers gleaned in the willows and brush, while the songs of Lazuli Buntings and Black-headed Grosbeaks filled the canyon. Western Fence Lizards skuttled under the bushes when we approached. The fought intently with each other in the rock piles. The trail continued to climb up the canyon, soon ponderosa pines dominated the landscape and the creek dipped underground in some places. In the distance, I heard the deep booming of a Sooty Grouse and a Swainson's Thrush sang from the pines. After an elevation gain of approximately 2,300 ft and above remainant patches of snow, we could see Wenas Valley spread out below us and the Enchantments in the distance. On the ridge, the flowers were also in bloom with Yellowbells, Spring Beauty, and Shooting Star.

The May trip to Hardy Canyon was a prefect way to enjoy spring (even with the ticks and small biting flies).

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Pictures

Entrance to Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area was detroyed through the hay storage area - just north of the old entrance.
Small rattlesnake we found near our camp site.
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wenas Creek,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Elk bones,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Nice camp spot on the old entrance road to Hardy Canyon,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
American Goldfinch,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Milk Vetch,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Long leaf Phlox,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Lupine, Desert Parsley, Arrowleaf Balsamroot, and Phlox,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Bumblebee mimic scarab,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Caterpillar,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Road up Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Hardy Creek, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Woodland Star,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Douglas brodiaea,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Arrowleaf Balsamroot,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Oregon Grape,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Ballhead Waterleaf,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wild Carrot, Chocolate Tips,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Wild Carrot, Chocolate Tips,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Larkspur,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Bulbiferious Fringecup,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Serviceberry, Douglas maples, and Bitter Cherry make up most of the shrubs of the lower part of Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Further up the canyon are taller Cottonwoods,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Western Fence Lizard suns itself in the morning,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
High up in the canyon are Ponderosa,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
At the top of the canyon flowers are still in early spring,
Spring Beauty,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Hooker's Onion,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Big Head Clover on the ridge above Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Sagebrush Violet,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Daggerpod,
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Spreading phlox
Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
View of Mt. Adam and the Enchatments from above Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Rim above Hardy Canyon, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Black Canyon across the Wenas Valley,
Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Iris,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Yellow Warbler,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Yellow Warbler,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Gopher Snake,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
a young Townsend's Ground Squirrel that met an unfortunate end,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Arrowleaf Balsamroot,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Stream of Desert Parsley,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
Arrowleaf Balsamroot and Lupine cover the hillsides,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
A bird triggers the game camera,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area
A closer look reveals a female Bullock's Oriole,
Wenas Valley, Oak Creek Wildlife Area

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Bird List

Canada Goose
Mallard
Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Osprey
American Kestrel
Dusky Grouse (h)
Ruffed Grouse (h)
California Quail
Wilson's Snipe
Morning Dove
Rock Pigeon
Great Horned Owl
Common Poorwill
Belted Kingfisher
Rufous Hummingbird
Northern Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Western Wood Pewee
Western Kingbird
Dusky Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Black-billed Magpie
Stellar's Jay
Clark's Nutcracker
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet Green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Golden-crowned Kinglet
House Wren
Rock Wren
American Robin
Swainson's Thrush
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Nashville Warbler
MacGillavary's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Lazuli Bunting
Black-headed Grosbeak
Western Tanager
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Bullock's Oriole
American Goldfinch

Other Critter List

Coyote
Mule Deer
Townsend's Ground Squirrel
California Ground Squirrel
Douglas Squirrel
Least Chipmunk
Western Rattlesnake
Gopher Snake
Western Fence Lizard
Pacific Treefrog

Flowers in Bloom

Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Lupine sp
Common Camas
Death Camas
Longleaf Phlox
Desert Parsley
Purple Pea Vine
Long Flowered Trustella
Serviceberry
Milk Vetch
Fine Leaf Daisy
Woodland Star
Larkspur
Wild Carrot, Chocolate Tips
Ballhead Waterleaf
Golden Currant
Bitter Cherry
Purple Cross Flower
Oregon Grape
Waxy Currant
Bulbiferious Fringecup
Big Head Clover
Pink Microsteris
Spring Beauty
Shooting Star
Yellowbell
Valley Yellow Violet
Hooker's Onion
Sagebrush Violet
Thyme Buckwheat
Creeping Phlox
Daggerpod
Douglas Brodiaea
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Information

Wenas Wildlife Area
A map of the southern section of Wenas Wildlife Area - driveable roads are in blue (1.1 MB)

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page updated: 5/20/08