Tarpiscan – Tekison – Quilomene Loop

With the first consecutive days of warm to hot weather my long time hiking and backpacking partner Steve and I decided to head South to do a backpack through the desert foothills of Central Washington paralleling the Columbia River in the Colockum and Quilomene Wildlife Areas. It was a cool and wet start to the Spring season so we wanted to make the most of a trip through an area rich in geologic and local cultural history, an area with no trails where you follow failing and abandoned roads in the process of being reclaimed by nature as well as many miles of off trail hiking through basalt covered scablands. The general flow was start low near the river and climb up to a ridge before descending into the next canyon filter water and repeat, we did this many times covering 18 miles day #1, 16 miles day #2, and 11 miles on day #3 for a total of 45 miles and 7300′ of gain. Every day was full sun and desiccating low humidity but the mixed terrain, plentiful wildflowers, and  flowing creeks as well as the long time friendship made for a pleasant experience we were like two boys exploring new country and sharing an adventure. The first night we setup camp at the mouth of Wanapum Lake at the confluence of Brushy and Quilomene Creeks on the West side of the Columbia River, the second night we camped along the Upper South Fork of Tarpiscan Creek before backpacking out the third day. Just before we turned North to start the few remaining miles to the vehicle we sat down on the edge of a slope to reflect on what we had just done while overlooking a beautiful section of country where the Columbia River, Cape Horn Mountain, and the Tarpiscan Creeks merge. Good time and great start to a new backpacking season.

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