Taunton Benchmark by Wahatis Peak in Saddle Mountains / 湯頓基準

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Taunton Benchmark by Wahastis Peak is the easternmost high point in Saddle Mountains. The extensive mountain range starts in Kittitas and ends just east of here. The peak gives an expansive view of the great plains of Eastern Washington.

Taunton Benchmark up ahead
Taunton Benchmark up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Taunton Benchmark at a Glance

Access: Highway 24 @ MP 68.2
Round Trip: 6 miles
Elevation Range: 960′-1903′
Gear: none
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Driving to Taunton Benchmark

This weekend’s weather was a stark contrast to last week‘s sunshine. I had planned to explore White Bluffs‘ south slope until recent reports mentioning tumbleweeds. It would be a windy day, so I decided to save the drive for another time.

The hidden pullout off Highway 24 took some time to locate. We went through the first gate but turned around shortly when we couldn’t go past the thickets. Then we crawled under the second gate to the other side.

Early afternoon
Early afternoon

See more trip photos here.

Through BLM Land

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages the land despite an adjacent orchard to the east. I remembered a party tried entering there, but the landowner denied their request. So I didn’t want to try that route.

From where we were, we only needed to go straight north to the top in three miles. There wasn’t much along the way except sagebrush and tumbleweeds. A line of charred fence posts had marked the north end of the land.

Boundary markers
Boundary markers

See more trip photos here.

Taunton Benchmark Summit

Before long, we were on the main ridgeline on gentle terrain. Then we walked northwest for a bit to reach the broad summit. The towers had toppled over a long time ago, and only the tiny shed and the utility pole remained.

Despite a hazy horizon, I could still see the Columbia River. Perhaps with a zoom lens on a clear day, I would also see White Bluffs and the dunes. The City of Othello was to the northeast with Wahatis Peak in the distant west.

Wahatis Peak to the west
Wahatis Peak to the west

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The windy summit had forced us behind the shed, where we spent a long time doing absolutely nothing. The yellow pup enjoyed rolling around in sagebrush but likely animal scents. But the black puppy had curled up in my fleece pullover.

We enjoyed a quiet but unexciting exit. En route, I helped Connor through some brush since he thought he was tall enough like Cody to hop over. Before long, we were back at the car five hours after we started.

Othello, Washington
Othello, Washington

See more trip photos here.

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