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  • Writer's pictureEdward Leonard

Robinson Canyon 15 June 2024

The man with his goats took me by surprise and I was startled two Ruffed Grouse that woke me up way more than my everyday Trenta Starbucks Ice Coffee. My latest trip to Robinson Canyon was a delight especially as the weather was much better than what was happening west of Snoqualmie Pass.

I left at 6am in the rain. As I approached Easton, I began to see breaks in the cloud and I knew I made the right choice for today. So often the weather east of the Pass is so different. I recommend it for the weather and breaking away from the crowds seen on the most popular hikes approaching Snoqualmie Pass.

Robinson Canyon in Thorp, WA is a favorite of mine because of the wildlife, wildflowers, and the rolling hills. Since I started hiking here I've seen Mule Deer, Rattlesnakes, Red-Naped Sapsucker, Lazuli Buntings, Townsend Solitares, Moutain Chickadees, Ruffed Grouse, Sooty Grouse, Calopie Hummingbirds, Western Wood-Pewees, Western Tanagers, and on and on.

Today, I added 4 birds to my year list. My favorite was the Sooty Grouse even though I didn't see it. Contrasting it with the experience of the Ruffed Grouse earlier making me jump out of my shoes, I was able to hear the song of the Sooty Grouse. I was hopeful for a Calopie Hummingbird, but no luck this day.

One of the things I appreciate most about Robinson Canyon is the solitude. Most of the times I have hiked this loop I have not seen anyone. Sometimes that solitude is so welcomed. Sometimes it is just necessary to be alone. I don't really want to acknowledge the presence of every passing hiker with a "hey" or nod or "good morning". I talk to people all week at my job. The silence, at least my silence, is replenishing. Today was relatively crowded with 2 women hikers with their doc and the man who was leading 5 or 6 goats. I love the idea of a man just hiking with his goats. (For those who know me, don't worry I am not about to buy a bunch of goats. I only appreciate the idea of something someone else would do.).

Seeing the goats did make me grateful I didn't bring my dog Golden, not that he would want to go. Ever since reading Travels with Charlie, I've dreamed of traveling with my dog, but Golden is not a traveler. He is the most unusual dog I have ever known. He doesn't like riding in cars. He belches. He is anxious in general. He is no Charlie. Of course, I am not Steinbeck either. Today, though I have no idea how he would have reacted to the goats. It likely would not have gone well.

All in all it was a great hike as always. I have never had a bad hike at Robinson Canyon (maybe someday if I get bit by a Rattlesnake). I feel healthier for the 5 mile leisurely hike searching for birds.


and now let's hear what ChatGPT has to say about hiking Robinson Canyon...

Discovering the Hidden Gem of Robinson Canyon: A Hiker’s Haven in Thorp, WA

Tucked away in the rolling hills of central Washington, just outside the small town of Thorp, lies a secluded paradise for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike: Robinson Canyon. This lesser-known gem, with its diverse landscapes and serene beauty, offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, inviting hikers to explore its rugged terrain and tranquil vistas.

(I am surprised ChatGPT didn't use the term nestled)

As you approach Robinson Canyon, the scenic drive itself sets the tone for the journey ahead. The landscape transforms from sprawling farmlands to undulating hills covered in sagebrush and pine. The air grows crisper, carrying the faint, sweet scent of wildflowers and pine resin. The unpaved road leading to the trailhead winds through a patchwork of meadows and groves, each turn offering a glimpse of the natural splendor that awaits.

The trailhead is modest, with a small parking area and a simple sign marking the entrance to Robinson Canyon. It’s a place that feels like a well-kept secret, known only to those who seek the quiet embrace of nature. As you set out on the trail, the sense of solitude is immediate and profound. The path meanders through a landscape that feels both timeless and untouched, a sanctuary for those looking to disconnect from the modern world and reconnect with the earth.

The hike begins with a gentle ascent through a picturesque meadow, where wildflowers bloom in vibrant hues during the spring and early summer. Lupines, Indian paintbrush, and balsamroot create a colorful carpet that sways gently in the breeze, attracting bees and butterflies. The trail is well-defined yet rugged, hinting at the more challenging terrain ahead.

As you climb higher, the landscape shifts, and the canyon reveals its dramatic features. Towering basalt cliffs rise on either side, their dark, weathered faces telling stories of ancient geological upheaval. The path becomes steeper and rockier, requiring careful footing and a good dose of determination. Yet, each step is rewarded with increasingly stunning vistas of the canyon below and the distant, rolling hills.

(Not really that much determination is required for anyone who is in hiking shape. If your idea of hiking is laps around the mall food court than maybe, but otherwise I suspect anyone in reasonable shape will not feel overwhelmed.)

The sound of a trickling stream accompanies you as you hike, providing a soothing soundtrack to the journey. The creek, fed by snowmelt from the nearby Cascade Range, cuts through the canyon, creating small waterfalls and clear, reflective pools. The cool, refreshing water offers a welcome respite on warmer days, and the shaded areas along the stream are perfect for a brief rest or a picnic.

Wildlife abounds in Robinson Canyon, and keen observers may spot deer grazing in the meadows, hawks soaring overhead, and perhaps even a coyote or two slinking through the underbrush. Birdwatchers will delight in the variety of avian species, from songbirds flitting among the trees to majestic eagles perched on high crags.

One of the hike’s highlights is reaching the canyon’s higher elevations, where the trail opens up to expansive views of the surrounding landscape. Here, the vastness of central Washington unfolds before you, a mosaic of green valleys, rocky outcrops, and distant peaks. It’s a place that invites contemplation and a deep sense of connection to the natural world. The silence is profound, broken only by the occasional rustle of leaves or the cry of a distant bird.

After soaking in the panoramic views, the trail begins its descent, looping back towards the trailhead. The return journey offers a different perspective, with the changing light casting new shadows and highlights on the canyon walls. The trail, though familiar, feels like a new adventure, each turn revealing another facet of this beautiful, rugged landscape.

As you arrive back at the trailhead, there’s a sense of accomplishment and rejuvenation. Robinson Canyon, with its blend of challenging terrain and serene beauty, provides an experience that is both physically rewarding and spiritually enriching. It’s a reminder of the profound peace that can be found in nature and the joy of discovering hidden gems off the beaten path.

Robinson Canyon in Thorp, WA, is more than just a hike; it’s an invitation to explore, reflect, and reconnect with the natural world. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking new challenges or a nature lover looking for tranquility, this canyon offers a perfect escape into the wild, where the beauty of central Washington’s landscape unfolds in every step.

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