In search of terrain unique from the West Coast, I spent this past weekend hiking in the desert conditions of the Umtanum-Yakima area (Hwy 821 south of Ellensburg; about 4.5-5 hrs from Vancouver depending upon traffic). Day 1 was a hike down Umtanum Creek Canyon - pretty easy, and a quick payoff with rocky cliffs around and Bighorn Sheep checking us out; a quick but steep climb to the top of the canyon on the north side from the parking lot and then a hike along the ridge allowed for more of a workout. On Day 2 we hiked up and along Yakima Skyline Ridge (4x4 or AWD with good clearance allows for less road hiking to the TH, otherwise add on 4km roundtrip from the gate. While in most years this would be the peak time for wildflowers, they were largely past their prime. Still, some were still out and there were great views up the valley and of Mt Adams to the south. Four campsites along Hwy 821 (Umtanum was not particularly appealing: small and next to the main parking lot for all of the day hikers) with Big Pines being the largest and nicest (and free this time of year!). Many more trails I want to explore here next year.