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Hardy & Black Canyons, Wenas Wildlife Area
June 2019

In what is easily becoming one of my favorite places to camping in Eastern Washington, we escaped to the east side while west of the mountains was getting hammered by a June rainstorm. We struck out early easily evading the traffic that now quickly builds up every Friday afternoon and made it over the pass to somewhat clearer skies, no rain, but plenty of wind. We invited a couple of friends along to share in the beauty of the place even without the luxuries of a flushing toilet or even a pit one.

June near Wenas Creek was full of singing Lazuli Buntings, American Goldfinch, Warbling Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak, and one Veery. The wildflowers were in full bloom with Douglas buckwheat, lupine, and yellow desert fleabane. We hiked up Black Canyon to Umtanum Ridge. Near the top, Red Crossbills drank greedly from a pond in the road and Cassin's Finches sang from the Ponderosa pines. Nesting Pygmy and Red-breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Bluebirds nested peacefully in neighboring snags. The largest Pacific Rattlesnake I've seen, crawled slowly through the brush next to the trail. And a flock of robins angerly chattered and chased a Long-eared Owl in the dense grove of aspens. Mats of paintbrush, pussytoes, pholx, groundsel, lupine, and arnica thrived in the shade of the Ponderosas. Oregon Sunshine, arrowleaf balsamroot and phlox blanketed the open hills sides of Umtanum Ridge. Along the exposed the rocky crust buckwheat, Lyall's mariposa lily, and bitterroot peppered the ground.

I still wish the state would reopen the Hardy trail. By reopen, I mean it's so far overgrown that maintain seems like a reach. For being so close together Hardy Canyon is different from Black Canyon. Hardy is deeper and larger with a slower ascent to the top. I don't think there are any plans to open up the trail anytime soon, but at least I got to enjoy it the couple of times I was able to hike it. Still Black Canyon is a treasure in its own and tthis spring trip to Hardy and Black Canyon was very rewarding and a treat to share with friends.


Pictures (click on the pictures to enlarge)

Bird List
Mallard H
Wild Turkey H
Mourning Dove B
Common Nighthawk H
Common Poorwill H
Rufous Hummingbird H
hummingbird sp. B
Great Blue Heron H
Northern Harrier H,B
Red-tailed Hawk H,B
Western Screech-Owl H
Great Horned Owl H
Long-eared Owl B
Downy Woodpecker H
Hairy Woodpecker B
Northern Flicker H,B
American Kestrel B
Olive-sided Flycatcher H
Western Wood-Pewee H
Willow Flycatcher H
Dusky Flycatcher B
Pacific-slope Flycatcher B
Say's Phoebe B
Ash-throated Flycatcher H
Eastern Kingbird H
Cassin's Vireo B
Warbling Vireo H
Steller's Jay B
Black-billed Magpie B
Common Raven H,B
Tree Swallow H
Violet-green Swallow H,B
Barn Swallow H
Black-capped Chickadee B
Mountain Chickadee B
Bushtit B
Red-breasted Nuthatch B
White-breasted Nuthatch B
Pygmy Nuthatch B
Rock Wren B
House Wren H
Western Bluebird H
Mountain Bluebird H
Townsend's Solitaire B
Veery B
American Robin H
European Starling H
Cedar Waxwing H
Cassin's Finch B
Red Crossbill B
American Goldfinch H
Chipping Sparrow B
Brewer's Sparrow B
Lark Sparrow H
Dark-eyed Junco B
Vesper Sparrow H
Spotted Towhee H
Yellow-breasted Chat H
Western Meadowlark H,B
Bullock's Oriole H
Red-winged Blackbird H
Brown-headed Cowbird H
Nashville Warbler B
MacGillivray's Warbler B
Yellow Warbler H
Yellow-rumped Warbler B
Western Tanager B
Critter List:
Elk H, heard
Coyote H, heard
Mule deer H, B
California Ground Squirrel B
Least Chipmunk B
Common Gartersnake H
Western Racer H, B
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake B
Pacific Gopher Snake B
Western Fence Lizard B
Bat sp H
Sooty Hairstreak
Lorquin's Admiral
Juba Skipper
Becker's White
Boisduval's Blue
Northern Checkerspot
Chalcedona Checkerspot
Fritillary sp
Swallowtail sp
Sulphur sp
Flowers in bloom
Arrowleaf Blasamroot
Chelan Penstemon
Cusick's Sunflower
Douglas Buckwheat
Douglas' brodiaea
Dusty Maidens
Gairdner's Penstemon
Harsh Paintbrush
Heartleaf Arnica
Hooker's Onion
Large flowered Collomia
Longleaf Hawksbeard
Lyall's Mariposa Lily
Meadow Death Camas
Mules Ear
Narrow leaved Collomia
Nettleleaf Horsemint
Northern Buckwheat
Nuttall's Sandwort
Old mans beard
Oregon Sunshine
Round headed Desert Buckwheat
Rush Pussytoes
Shaggy Daisy
Showy Penstemon
Showy Phlox
Slender Hawksbeard
Thompson Paintbrush
Threadleaf Phalecia
Upland Larkspur
Western Groundsel
Wild Blue Flax
Wood's Rose
Yellow Desert Daisy


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page updated: 6/14/19