Yakima Canyon and White Pass
Yakima Canyon was my last planned way point on the way and it was put as part of the plan because I missed it during the Columbia River Gorge Loop. The plan was to take the Yakima Canyon road till Yakima and then turn around, get back to I-90 east and then return home.
Well anti climatically, one thing I remember about Yakima Canyon is – bugs. Tons and tons of bugs and it was so bad that I could not get out of the car for more than a minute to take pictures. The drive itself was wonderful with the road winding alongside the Yakima River. I did stop at Yakima Tubing for a short bit where I managed to take some photos before I was driven back to the comfort of my car by the bugs.
By the time I reached the end of Yakima Canyon, the map recalculated and a new route was drawn via White Pass. White Pass is closed seasonally and the last time I checked it was closed and there was no estimate of when it will open. So I assumed it was still closed and had not looked into it again. But in case white pass really is open, then it opens up a lot of possibilities. So even though I was not sure of the status of the road, I decided to go check it out. What is the worst that could happen – if it is blocked, I can just turn around.
There were not many photo ops on the way to White pass, but it was indeed open. Cayuse pass was still closed. Mt rainier National Park was still closed, but the route from Packwood to Greenwater was open. For me it meant that I could take white pass all the way home. I found a waterfall and a scenic outlook of Mt Rainier on the way. If you have not been on white pass already, I recommend taking it at least once as the road will take you along valleys and beautiful lakes. There was a bit of snow on the way as well when I was here and finally the road passes through a part of Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Even though Mt Rainier National Park was closed, there was quite a crowd outside and there were cars parked on both the sides. I was driving slowly behind an entourage of cars and noticed they all turning into a side road. Curiosity got the better of me again and I followed them in. The side road was a national forest road – unkempt and bumpy. I followed these cars inside for quite a while after which I realised they are just looking for a place to camp out at which point I decided to come back. On the way back, I got lost a bit inside but managed to get out with the help of the car’s offline maps.