Monday, July 23, 2007

Steptoe Butte

Steptoe Butte 6/7         Steptoe Butte 4/7

I did not climb to the top of Steptoe Butte. I think I could have, using the "mad scramble" method, but I am not mad and I don't really like to scramble. Instead, I took the winding road all the way to the top.

Steptoe Butte has an elevation of 3612 feet and is 1000 feet higher than the surrounding fields, making it the highest point in the area; there are plenty of antennae on top of it to attest to that fact. The views, as you can see if you embiggen the pictures above or look at the entire set, are spectacular (trust me on little digital camera doesn't do them justice). In this photo, you can see Mt. Spokane in the distance—a 75+ miles away distance.

The road to the top winds around the butte, and it lacks a guardrail on the outer edge. I was already going slowly because of all the birds and chipmunks on the road, but even if the road lacked wildlife I would have been going slowly because roads without guardrails freak me out a little bit. When I got to the top, I gave a little sigh of relief and took these pictures. Going back down was not as freaky as going up, because I could hug the inside with no fear of falling off the outside. I coasted the entire way down the butte.

The coolest bird I saw was a black-headed grosbeak. Very colorful! As far as mammals go, I saw approximately one million chipmunks and two yellow-bellied marmots.