Hardy & Black Canyons, Wenas Wildlife Area
With great relief for the time to get away, we were able to enjoy a sunny fall weekend up at Hardy Canyon in the Wenas Wildlife Area. The area was a wash of golden fields of drying grass, yellow blossoms of rabbitbush and great sage, and just the start of yellowing aspens. Red rose hips, serviceberries, wax currants, and chokecherries were drying on the bush making the perfect snacks to accompany some trail mix. Definitely no fields of shooting stars or bitterroot to admire, but the fall palate held its own distinct subdue beauty.
We camped near the mouth of Hardy Canyon, next to the large elk (or maybe zombie) fence that now surrounded the area. At night we admired the Milky Way, perhaps the best viewing I've seen in a long while - despite the searchlight from Yakima that would occassionally sweep the sky. The lack of moon, mild weather, and brief shooting stars made an enjoyable evening of star gazing.
Instead of hiking up Hardy Canyon, which from the reports still is overgrown after the DNR closed the road to vehicles, we crossed the street to hike up Black Canyon during the day. Birding was slower in the fall, but the canyon was full of flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers punctuated with a Hermit Thursh or Golden-crowned Sparrows. Large flocks of Western Meadowlarks gathered at the mouth of the canyon and a covey of Chuckars climbed the canyon wall.
The solitary camping, mild dry weather and fall hiking made for a perfect getaway to mark the beginning of autumn.
Wenas Wildlife Area