The 6th of November turned out to be perhaps the last opportunity to get a sunny day of riding trails in the backcountry. Hearing that the higher elevations at the passes have already been hit with snow flurries, our small convoy of friends instead decides to head towards the lower elevation foothills on the eastern slopes of the Cascade mountain range. A large factor was that Washington state has had the rainiest October ever on record which made us consider the potential for very muddy, potentially hazardous conditions on the steep trails in the heart of the Cascades. We wanted a easy trail with some good views, basically.
Southwest from Ellensburg, WA is the area known as Manastash Ridge. The trails in this area give wide, expansive views of distant volcanoes and craggy mountain peaks as there are very few trees and most of the hills are the same general elevation so it affords great opportunities to capture some landscape pics.
Taking Umptaneum road from Ellensburg, (see map below), then at right at Hanson road. Following Hanson road north, and continue as it takes a left towards the west. The observatory itself is in plain view in front as one travels along the rocky ridge road.
We made good time through the Manastash ridge road area and it was still relatively early in the day so we decided to tackle more trails. We made our way through to Wenas, WA and back onto the trails by way of Ridge road, which is Part 4 of the WABDR multi-day route across Washington. We stopped and had lunch on the ridge. It was good to be with friends, simply enjoying the day.