Team Quilomene Jeep in…the Quilomene
In March, Amy got the opportunity to take her “Barbie Jeep” out into the snow in the Quilomene area of eastern Washington, right where she and Naomi first met and forged a bond between women adventurers.
The Quilomene is typically not even accessible in March. However, this winter has been almost record-breaking in its mildness. While that leaves us all a little nervous about the coming summer wildfires, it did give Amy the opportunity to get out on a day trip with a group from Northwest Overland.
We started the day with a small caravan from the Seattle area through a torrential rainstorm over Snoqualmie Pass. Normally packed with skiers this time of year, the ski lifts were eerily quiet, floating above hills of dry brown grass. As soon as we got over the pass and went through Cle Elum, the sunshine made a tentative appearance and pretty much stuck it out for the day.
We met the rest of the group (around 11 trucks in all) at a parking lot in Ellensburg, home of the Central Washington University Wildcats. Ellensburg is a nice gateway to so much of what eastern WA has to offer. A quick fillup (gas AND coffee!) and we were off towards Colockum Road.
We stopped as soon as the pavement ended to air down. The terrain is quite rocky and we were fairly sure there would be icy patches as well. Once everyone was ready we headed up the hill to meet up with the last few members of the group who had camped the night before.
The day was spent traveling the forest service road trails all over the wilderness area. It was a great time, tooling along in the mud and slushy snow. Nobody got stuck, but it was fun to grind over the icy patches with a little slip slide action. We stopped for lunch in our favorite secret campsite we call “Shangri-La” and enjoyed the sunshine while dogs and kids played.
At the end of the day, those of us not camping that night headed back down the hill via another trail into Kittitas, WA, just east of Ellensburg. A couple hours drive and we were back in Seattle, anxious for the next escape!