Finding spring in eastern Washington

I recently picked up a 1993 Range Rover County Sport and have started a restoration of this rare version.  After replacing the tires, the fluids, and sorting out some electrical issues, I wanted to take it off-road.  With a small group of friends I ventured out to Umtanum Ridge in eastern Washington where we roved the range.  As the expression goes, it does what it says on the tin.

 I guess I can always apply at the Shell station...

I guess I can always apply at the Shell station...

After refueling in Ellensburg, where I failed to meet the minimum requirements for employment at a gas station, we wound through Shushuskin Canyon to the Umtanum Falls trailhead.  To break up the journey we took a jaunt on foot to visit the waterfall. 

 A shady amphitheater makes for a refreshing break from the sun.

A shady amphitheater makes for a refreshing break from the sun.

We proceeded along the dirt road past Ellensburg Pass and paused for a picnic lunch.  Once again, the Range Rover’s tailgate showed its practicality.

 Travel in style, have lunch in style.  Jenna Rizzo photo.

Travel in style, have lunch in style.  Jenna Rizzo photo.

Turning up onto the trail at the west end of the ridge we wove up through stands of pine, then scrub steppe, and found ourselves alone along the crest.  The views to Rainier and Mount Stuart were spectacular and the wildflowers bloomed all around. 

 Gradual ascent of the west end of Umtanum Ridge.

Gradual ascent of the west end of Umtanum Ridge.

 1995 long wheelbase leisurely climbs the ridge.

1995 long wheelbase leisurely climbs the ridge.

 Tranquility on the crest.

Tranquility on the crest.

 Rainier watches from a distance.  Scott Walker photo.

Rainier watches from a distance.  Scott Walker photo.

For several hours we slowly traversed the ridge, pausing to take in the views, play musical chairs in the Rovers, and take strategic snack breaks.  By the time we headed back north to Ellensburg the sun was low in the sky and we were content at a full day of exploration and solitude on the ridge.

 The long road back to Ellensburg with Mount Stuart in center.

The long road back to Ellensburg with Mount Stuart in center.