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Trip Report

White Bluffs - North — Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013

Central Washington

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Type of Hike

Day hike
Our trip leader was anxious to see a sunset over the Columbia River at White Bluffs. He expected the big skies above the river and the afternoon light on the sand dunes and cliffs would make for a spectacular picture on a winter day. Was he ever right! It turned out to be a warm and windless afternoon in the Wahluke National Wildlife Refuge at Hanford Reach. Nine of us hiked to the highpoint on the dunes, distractedly taking photo after photo along the way. The light in the sky got better and better; we even got to enjoy the dark silhouette of Mt. Rainier against the orange sunset. It was a beautiful evening! Some of the highlights included the sounds and flight patterns of the birds!! Hundreds of geese and ducks camped along the sandy beaches of the river. They'd take off in huge numbers to fly the short distance to the island in the river, barely skimming the water's surface, cackling and honking, cackling and honking. The tracks and trails of deer and coyotes across the sand was fun to see... evidence that many animals enjoy the preserve. We had the pleasure of a near full-moon! It's light lit up the dunes; we hardly needed headlamps. We howled at the bright orb like good Cascadians and found ourselves dueling with yips and yowls of what seemed like a dozen or more coyotes in the sagebrush below our sandy perch. To say it was a special evening is a conservative estimate. We turned on our headlamps for the walk out, stopping occasionally to listen to the wild night life. Our line of lights along the cliff edges was a fitting sight, just days before the Christmas holiday.