Swale Canyon

Having recently explored around the Ice House on the Klickitat River and Trail, I wanted to come back and head out the other direction to explore the old railbed converted to trail and bike path. I arrived just after 9 am, and found some water collected in ruts with a sheen of ice on the surface. A chill, sunny spring morning is the perfect time to hike here- it can get brutal warm in the summer and the path is closed during fire season. I started at the Wahkiacus Trail access just off of the raging Klickitat River where Swale creek flows out of its canyon. From there I headed down the trail, following along the creek through the canyon. Desert Parsley is prevalent here and covers the canyon walls and hillsides with yellow blooms. The trail follows south until you can see the equipment up on Stacker Butte directly ahead and then cuts hard to the east, where it rises up on the gentle plains, and the creek widens. Lots of meadowlarks singing along the cattle fences and swallows dipping at bugs over the river.  I passed by the parking area along Harms road where numerous bikers were unloading the bikes and preparing to ride down the trail and continued on the last leg through the fields, noticing the top of Mt. Adams poking over a hillside to the northwest. Some considerate puffs of clouds blocked the sun for me in this otherwise completely exposed and open section. At the end of the trail at Warwick, I turned around and started back down the canyon, heading with the creek down to the river. Round trip was 27 miles, and my feet are ready for some time off of rail beds paved with their chunky hard rock base.