For most adventures there comes a moment as I'm leaving town where I get the feeling that everything is right and I know it's going to be a great trip.
Right about here is where that magic hit me.
Approaching Big Pines campground. I was nervous I wouldn't be able to get four sites together. But so happy to be here. This place lifts me up.
I found four spots by the river and quickly threw gear on the picnic tables and blocked the driveways with chairs.
I didn't have exact change to pay for the sites so I decided to go into town before paying.
On the way back from Ellensburg.
I was amazed when I returned and the four best spots by the river were vacant! As fast as I could I moved everything over to lay claim!
As evening arrived, there were still plenty of spaces open. Just none by the river.
In the morning I got the idea to climb up the gulley on the right of the hill (not in pic), summit, then descend down the left side.
Across the road from the campground, about to climb up.
There's kind of a trail.
This end of the campground is for day parking. Helpful hint: on Sunday morning when most of the toilets are trashed, that one is usually okay.
Some interesting geology here.
A look back the way I'd just come up.
Out of the gulley. Looking downstream.
This hill with the cell phone tower on it is not visible from camp. I think 2011 is the year I'll hike that trail to the top.
A look over the other side of the hill. Sheep tracks all over on the right.
A look left, down to Danger Island. We'll have to rename it someday, it's really not that bad.
Looking futher left where the river bends back around.
I found a trail!
Walking down the ridge. Last pix were on the right, camp is to the left. A train is passing through.
Zooming in on Big Pines campground.
A wide angle view of Big Pines.
The campground is filling up.
My home for the weekend. The big box is for holding all my rafting gear. I've got my system down to 4 boxes, 3 duffels, 1 cooler, 1 stack of chairs.
I can pack and go in ten minutes. Unpacking goes even faster. Now I just need to figure out a faster way to clean the gear.
Keith had arrived and set up camp. Sometimes it gets windy here. That poor canopy didn't survive. I've seen piles of 'em at the dumpster before!
The view from the boat ramp.
Looks like they're going to get in two floats this weekend! Bighorn campground on the right.
Went to E-burg for more ice. Pretty much anything you might need can be found here on Canyon Road (or whatever they call this section of it).
Driving back to camp.
Alfalfa farm on the right. On the ridge above the heritage marker sign is about where those earlier pictures were taken from.
Going for an evening nature walk with Darin and Andy.
Wish I had my new Nikon for this summer. Not bad for an old 5 megapixel Kodak camera though.
Walking back to camp.
The best light for photography is in the morning. The second best is that golden evening time.
This place is pretty.
I don't think there's any campsites left for this weekend.
Darin looks happy to be here!
Yeah, it's full.
Heading up to the launch spot. I've always wondered why there's a little pine tree forest on that one slope and nowhere else in the canyon.
We drive about ten miles past the Bighorn campground and launch spot. That's where we used to launch when we didn't know better.
Yes! Finally got Mark and Darin's family out on the river! It's something I had been working on for years!
(What did the trick was convincing the wives on New Years eve...)
Soon we'll pass under the railroad trestle. Cheers Andy!
The sky was a little hazy, but the weather was warm.
Paul volunteered to get wet. Either that or he got volunteered.
Lunch at Sandwich Island.
Getting ready to launch again.
Improving weather. I've learned to announce when I'm going to take pictures so I can get more smiles!
Rich noticed I was taking pictures!
George is drying out after he volunteered to get a soaking.
Paul is a Detroit Lions fan to the core.
I think I had twelve or thirteen rafts clipped to the front of my raft. Happy to report I got everybody down the river in comfort.
The suspension bridge at Umtanum campground is a popular place to stop. It's an easy landing to make.
It's a grand canyon. (With a small G.)
Looks like Rich is entertaining again!
Somebody is getting ready to jump from the PacMan cliff by the looks of it.
Beercan Island is a favorite place to stop. It's usally bigger but the water is up pretty high this weekend.
For some reason beercans in the river get diverted into the little channel to the right where we can wade in and pick them up.
I bet I've fished out over a hundred cans from here over the past few years (since we first noticed the phenomenom.)
Driving back from picking up the van from the launch spot.
Mark is happy when he has his grilling glove on!
I jumped up on a rock for a last light dinner picture. A little blurry but you can get the idea.
The river in the morning. Late morning. I slept in.
Slowly packing up.
We drove south out of the canyon to Yakima.
This is a great motorcycle road! (Just do the speedlimit. The county makes millions on speeding tickets here.)
From one hundred degree Yakima, to fifty degree Mount Rainier in under an hour.