By John Kruse
EARLY SEASON HIKES, FISHING AND MORE
The mild weather we are seeing in Washington this month may signal the end of winter and an opportunity to get outside to hike or fish. Here are a few suggestions about where to do both in Central and Eastern Washington:
The recent spring like weather and melting snow have got some (myself included) thinking about early spring hikes. One great opportunity can be found at the Quincy Lakes Unit of the Columbia Basin State Wildlife Area between Quincy and George. Here hikes to the Ancient Lakes and Dusty Lake await. Prior to March 1st the road running between the lakes on the upper end of the wildlife area are gated. You are still allowed to walk in though and can access the Ancient Lakes or Dusty Lake from trailhead parking lots that take you about a half a mile along steep trails of basalt scree to the lakes below.
Another option if you want to stretch your legs more than these short and steep jaunts begins at a shared trailhead below these basalt cliffs. Take Road 9 NW and drive west from Whitetrail Road. The road ends about six miles later at a trailhead popular with both hikers and horseback riders.
A wide trail takes you south to two wide coulees full of sagebrush and surrounded on three sides by basalt rock cliffs. The first coulee has several trails that will take you to the Ancient Lakes, four small bodies of water, one of which has a waterfall flowing into it. The trail into the second coulee leads to Dusty Lake, a larger body of water favored by fly-anglers after quality trout. Both hikes are relatively flat and offer a chance to enjoy sunshine while enjoying the sweet scent of sagebrush and listening to the melodious song of the meadowlarks that frequent this area. The round-trip mileage for the Ancient Lakes hike is four miles and the Dusty Lake hike covers six miles. A Discover Pass or WDFW Access Pass visible through the front windshield of your vehicle is required. You can find more details about these trails in the hiking guide section of http://wta.org