Chopper Peak Sortie


It was a shining 62 degree kind of late February type day with the foothills just turning green—the kind of green that's emerging from the brown slope of winterslope speckled with the fingered sticks of sagebrush and bent over bunchgrass, heaps of organic matter that were once the leaves of arrowleaf balsamroot or lupine or maybe yarrow.

The yarrow that grows in the Wenatchee foothills generally has white flowers; we found two live blooms at the end of the trip. We stared there, 1200 feet above sea level and approached the hill from a southern arm which dissolves into a rural (5 houses) neighborhood. There was no trail so we stuck to game trails and made up switchbacks which avoided the occasional steep, dusty grade. There is another starting location which I used once with my old pal Lando several years ago, but later in the spring. He cat napped under a big pine at the summit.


The arm is a series of uphill and flat spaces which gradually turns into a ridge of sorts as you reach rock outcoppings toward the summit. There's some burned trees—fallen, yet still clinging to the rocks they tore from the ground—and fun little alcoves and not too dangerous precipices littered with the occasional thirty second scramble. 

We made good time today, snapped some family photos and enjoyed the view. At the top—1,300 feet higher than we started—we took a quick jaunt westward and up a small rise, passing the napping tree and peeking down at Number 2 Canyon then gazing at the oft-photographed Wenatchee Valley / Columbia River panorama.

A deep breath and comments about doing this more since, come on we live here for cuss' sake, but just the same we never get tired of that view. Then back down we went, becoming a part of it ourselves. 

RECOMMENDATIONS: If staying in town is your thing consider sampling some of the amazing wines and ciders. Do the circuit and visit Jones of Washington, Stemilt Creek Winery, and Snowdrift Cider Company. If you're in the Leavenworth area, stop in at Icicle Ridge Winery.