Observatory Road and Ridge Road – May 2017

Memorial Day weekend is a bell-weather holiday as it’s the signal that’s it’s time to explore the backcountry once again. The snow has melted off well above 4500″ elevation and the dirt tracks are open. Especially so if one goes to the east side of the Cascade Mountain range where the weather has been sunnier and drier for the last few weeks.

Having been through the area the previous weekend for camping, it was known that the tracks were open. Returning to the Umptaneum/Manastash Ridge area was a clear choice for a quick day run through some high plains desert hills. Coming along with me were my old buddies Ketphanom and Nick.

Observ Rd and Ridge Road (7 of 7)
Nick and K 

Dipping up and down along the edge of the ridge line, the scenery was spectacular as there were very few clouds in the sky, affording long views towards the Cascade Mtn range proper as well as clear views of the volcanoes, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. The whole route takes 5-6 hours if you’re going casually; capturing some pictures, taking a couple pot shots at a whiskey bottle, having lunch and laughing with friends.

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Taking Umptaneum road from Ellensburg, then a right at Hanson road heading north. Left towards the Observatory, (you can see it). After that, head towards Wenas, WA with an option to take the Game Dept Road up to Ridge Road bearing south east. Old Durr road north leads back to Ellensburg.
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3 thoughts on “Observatory Road and Ridge Road – May 2017

  1. Glad your back at it again this year. Sounds like quite the trip. Five hours seems about the right about of time in the truck for a day. Anything more and you can start making mistakes, missing things and then all hell breaks loose. Our overland trips will be pretty small this year. We’re still planning on doing to the T.W.A.T. later this summer, but I think we’ll be saving up for some major upgrades to the Jeep and keeping our adventures to the hiking and camping variety. Look forward to seeing what you do next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Tobias, always good to hear from you. I’ve done much longer than 5hrs driving off road without incident but I do completely agree that after a certain point the mistakes and simple miscalculations begin to add up. And in Washington state, many of the trails are on the side of mountain, never a good time for simple errors. Could you tell me, what is T.W.A.T? And what sort of upgrades are you planning on doing?

      Liked by 1 person

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