All photos from this trip can be found here.
Inspired by Loren’s trip report from January and in search of a new place to visit in Central Washington, I decided to check the area out for myself. While researching this trip, it occurred to me that I’ve actually looked down at the area from top of Sentinel/Saddle Mountain couple of years back. It was exciting to get a different perspective of the mountain from below.
Unless I had somehow missed it, the abandoned old building before the parking area mentioned in the hike description was nowhere to be seen. The parking area itself was muddy so I parked the car near the edge by the grass to avoid getting stuck. It looked as though people had come to hang out here as there was quite a bit of broken beer bottles by the grass, as they didn’t care to pack out.
After reaching the railroad grade and crossing over Crab Creek on a very nice bridge, the pups and I headed east. We stayed on the road for about a half mile beyond the bridge and hopped onto a hikers path on the right side just past the wetlands. From there, we roamed northerly and eventually scrambled onto top of the coulee for a better view of the entire area to the south, including gigantic Saddle Mountain in front of us.
With enough daylight still and to make this trip worth the drive, we continued to head north toward Sand Hollow Lake. Highest point at northern edge of the coulee was a perfect spot to enjoy views of the lake. On the map the lake looked accessible from the roads to the north, so I’d imagine it’s pretty popular during the summer months. After a while we scrambled down to the southern edge of the sandy lake shore and walked southwesterly toward opening of the basin. Then walked almost to the west end to get a better view toward the direction of Beverly and the Columbia River. The sunset colors were beginning to settle in.
Afterward we headed back down toward the power lines and met up with our up track to hike back out. The only animals we saw during our stay were some hawks flying high in the area. And our hike back to the railroad grade and back to the car was accompanied by the incessant howling of coyotes.