Monday, January 6, 2014

Badger of the Mountain - Washington

Badger Mountain
Badger Mountain is a popular mountain summit located in Benton County of eastern Washington state. The most prominent highpoint of the Tri-Cities, (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick), area...the mountain is passed by thousands of people daily. From the desert floor to the summit, Badger Mountain rises a little over 800 feet, and has an elevation of 1,579 feet above sea level.
It is estimated that 2,500 people climb the desert mountain every week...making Badger Mountain one of the most climbed peaks in Washington state.
The 1.4 mile trail begins at this large boulder, called an "erratic". An erratic is a rock that differs from the type of rock in the area in which the rock rests. Erratic rocks are carried by glacier ice often hundreds of miles from the rocks origin.
The trail, to the top of Badger Mountain, has an moderate incline and makes for a great workout. In the photo above, the trail is the tan colored line at the top of the photo. Can you find my sister, niece, and nephew in the photo?
The day of our hike was warm, but not uncomfortable. Pynekone and Joey even enjoyed the hike.
My sister Shelli and Joey on the Badger Mountain Trail.
During the drainage of the Ice Age Flood, water backed up into the Tri-Cities region because the water could fit through the Wallula Gap all at once. A large temporary lake was formed and given the name Lake Lewis. At about 3/4 the way up the Badger Mountain Trail, a granite erratic monument documents the high-water line of Lake Lewis...1,250 feet above sea level, or about 600 feet above the desert floor.
In the photo above, Joey is trying to recreate that historic flood.
Samantha, Jason and Shelli pose next to desert wildflowers along the trail.
The showy Rosy Balsamroot Flower (Balsamorhiza rosea) grows in limited desert areas and is considered rare. The flowers early bloom is yellow.
As the flower ages, it turns pink or red.
Wild flowers and grasses grow abundantly on Badger Mountain, especially on the north facing slopes. The picture above illustrates plant growth on a north facing slope and little growth of wild flowers on the south facing slope. The gully between the two slopes traps rolling tumble weeds.
During early spring, the barren and drab colored mountain comes alive with color.
These wild flowers and hundreds other from the Northwest will be documented in detail in a later blog.

From Badger Mountain, you can see Rattlesnake Mountain in the distance.
We made it to the top. The city of Richland lies below us.
The weather was changing quickly. An approaching thunderstorm encouraged us to leave the summit and return to the car.
After such a great hike seeing wild flowers and high desert scenery, Dairy Queen was calling all of our names.

The ice cream was a great way to end our adventure.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Thank you! We enjoyed the beautiful pictures. Mark&Sue