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Walking Peshastin Pinnacles

By on April 22, 2019 in Outdoor Fun with 0 Comments
The trail to the Peshastin Pinnacles starts behind the green door.

By Diana Rigelman

When Spring finds Wenatchee, I’m lured out of the house to find secrets of the Wenatchee Valley. 

Most everything is a secret to me because I haven’t lived here very long. Trails, restaurants, art, music — where will I find the next fun thing to do? 

Last summer I thought I’d explore a trail close to Wenatchee; that a lady of a certain age would feel safe to explore and get exercise in the process. 

Peshastin Pinnacles State Park popped into mind. I’d seen the sign more times than I can count when driving to Leavenworth and wondered: What secret waits to be discovered back there? 

The park is located northwest of Cashmere on Dryden Road, a short drive from town. 

When I pulled into the parking lot, I was glad to see a tad of civilization. Namely picnic tables under the trees and bathrooms just beyond. So far so good. 

I followed the path uphill to a rustic garden door and wondered, was this actually the right direction? Thankfully I had copied a map from the Washington State Parks website. While Pinnacles is under two miles of trails, I know my ability to get turned around in Costco. 

I felt confidence rise when I confirmed with the map the trails I sought started just beyond that door. 

Through the door is a mountainous field with trails leading to mammoth sandstone formations. Some of these have the look of dinosaur armor. 

The Pinnacles and surrounding prehistoric stone formations call to the playful side of the imagination.

Summer hills were covered in sagebrush, delicate desert flowers and grasses that also bordered a warren of trails. What the map didn’t show was how narrow some paths are. 

I didn’t have time on this day to climb up hilly switchbacks that undoubtedly reward a hiker with a perch to view the Wenatchee valley. 

Descriptive names of prehistoric stone stirred my imagination. Around Dinosaur Tower and Martian Slab I could picture little green men with ray guns just over the rise. Instead of climbing near these, I headed westward on the lower trail towards Church Tower and Vulture Slab. 

I told myself I wasn’t out there for fanatical athletic feats, just a stroll on a reasonable path to get up close and within touching distance of these other-worldly rock formations. 

What I found on the west side of the park were views of orchard-covered hills and the Wenatchee River with a train snaking alongside it. Peaceful chatter of birds in the evening sun made me ask out loud, “How beautiful is this land?” 

Meandering around massive rock formations, I could envision this area must be a rock climber’s heaven. Sheared vertical faces of monster rocks with hand and toe grabs already in place made me think it’s a popular area to develop climbing skills. 

Continuing back along the trail I saw something out of the corner of my eye. . . A SNAKE! 

I did a less than graceful skip, jump and a trip past it. My feet slipped right off the path as I went body surfing down the hill on my backside. Gravel, brush and gravity stopped my fall a dozen feet down the hillside. 

The snakeskin looked pretty real — real like a real, live snake — when it was laying across the trail.

At that moment I regretted wearing shorts on my exploration. Climbing cautiously back up to the trail I was relieved to discover I was wrong. Well, mostly wrong. 

The object of my panic wasn’t a snake, but roughly six to seven feet of shedded white snakeskin. It looked mighty moist and fresh. 

Was there a naked snake in the underbrush right beside me? I couldn’t say. 

The revelation I was sharing the trail with unseen predators revived my energy. I high tailed it down the path, around the monoliths, through the gate and back to the car in record time. I was back in my driveway before I knew it. 

I’d broken my Girl Scout’s motto of “Be prepared.” 

I had told myself it was “just a little hike to explore.” While that’s true, I would have been wise to take it as seriously as if it were a longer hike. 

Next time, I’ll wear long pants and bring a walking stick to steady me. I’ll have a bandana, water and cell phone handy. Along with a band-aid or two and a bit more trail experience. 

 Diana Rigelman  loves exploring the  Wenatchee Valley’s views, arts and culture.  

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