I was first introduced to the Quilomene and Colockum wildlife areas by my buddy Ward in 2013. The "introduction" was an epic four-day north-to-south trip from Wenatchee to Vantage. Since then, it has been my great pleasure to make several additional excursions into this wonderful public access playground and at this point, the place is pretty much in my blood. I can't call a riding season complete without a trip or two into the "Q".
As the weather forecast turned favorable this past week, several of us immediately fixated on the possibility of a visit. The thing about the Q is that the window of opportunity for visiting is a pretty narrow one - too early means too cold and too wet, and too late means hotter than blazes and having to contend with rattlesnakes. The window is somewhere around 4-6 weeks in the Spring and within this window there can be other weather events like rain and wind that make it impractical/unwise to go in. The place is incredibly wild and having been "bit" a time or two, I have tremendous respect for what can happen out there, which I guess could be characterized as a healthy fear.
So within this year's window, the conditions for the weekend looked about as good as they get, and we decided to pull the trigger on a spur-of-the-moment quick overnighter. There were some people who wanted to be there but couldn't, and as it played out, the gang that touched down was, from L-R, Chip, Randy, Ward, and on his inaugural visit, Ward's new rescue-dog partner, Hank. Along with me, of course. So four dudes and a dog, then.
With the exception of Chip, who actually started a day earlier on a solo true bikepacking experience and met up with us at our campground, this turned out to be a car-camping affair. Nothing wrong with that - it's the right call in certain situations and this was one of them. We had a Coleman stove and Road Trip Grill, Bluetooth music, a legit firepit fueled by split cordwood brung from the big city, real chairs, a fair abundance of different lovely varieties of water, sanitary wipes, and other stuff that can be, ummm, nice.
So us city dwellers fumbled around amidst our job responsibilities and gear-sorting gyrations and eventually found camp in three separate vehicles late on Friday afternoon. Chip had been roaming around the area on his bike and was waiting for us. We got somewhat settled in and then headed out with bikes and lights to watch the sun go down.
Eventually, we returned to camp and ate like kings, and told honorable lies. Like I said, car camping has its place.
The prime excursion happened on Saturday, and shortly into it, we were treated with this view of Mt. Rainier. Mt. Adams was also visible during our climb.
The dry stuff was challenging enough. Fat tires are a fairly good prescription for dealing with some of the considerable chunk, as Randy clearly illustrates.
I am at a loss as to how to adequately describe my latest experience in the Q, just as I have been after my previous experiences. So I guess this is my latest, best shot.