Field Report No. 20151014BB

Topic: High-country amble
Conditions: Brilliant

COMMENTS: Scrabbles of week-old snow are slung against the coldest contours. I've come to this familiar swath of the Okanogan again today to listen intently to the land and its coveys of grouse hoping I can become more worthy of their harvest. Instead of hooting I hear only silence for hours and hours. In one direction the land drops away to intricate battlements of stone in the North Cascades and the hulking form of Komo Kulshan glowing white against a jagged blue sky. A glance 180° to my right reveals a sheet of broad untrailed hills perfectly suited for an unhinged run with arms outstretched or a roll in its tawny velvet grasses. In this place the land falls away in all directions and I am at its center.

KEY FEATURES: Classically Okanogan big skies. Interminable washboarded gravel roads lined with elaborate deer camps. Silence. A country too broad for squares.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Start early with coffee and a fresh slice of quiche at Rocking Horse Bakery. Leave behind the iPod and listen to the wind instead. Be sure to have a camp chair and plenty of time to linger as the vistas open around you.