14-Apr-2004 -- Please note that this is a protected, permit only area, and the City of Walla Walla and the U.S. Forest Service patrol the watershed and it’s perimeter, and local and federal penalties include fines and/or prison. Human activity in the watershed is limited and controlled in order to protect the quality of the water, which is treated and served to the residents of our valley. I was asked to document the confluence as the City’s water quality specialist as a part of other duties while in the watershed.
This trip involved over five miles of cross country hiking in very hilly, rocky terrain. We waded across several creeks, and climbed several hundred feet, only to encounter brush and forest canopy so thick at the confluence that we were unable to obtain a GPS reading until we backtracked down the hill about 150 feet.
Larry, our watershed attendant (and by far the more athletic of the two of us) entertained me on the way with stories of his most recent bear and cougar encounters out here. He regularly encounters wildlife on his patrols, and has fond memories of being charged by bears and stalked by cougars. He told me that he felt safer having me accompany him, as he can run faster than me and predators usually single out the slowest prey. I was glad I could do that for him.
Seriously though, this is very pristine country that has seen little human presence. The scenery was beautiful, and thought it was a challenging hike (for me), it was a very enjoyable experience. Down in the lower areas, there are numerous streams, but there is not a lot of underbrush. The hillsides however, alternate between rocky with sparse trees, to heavily forested with conifers and very dense underbrush.
Coordinator's Note: The GPS coordinates show a position about 118 meters from the confluence. The visitors have confirmed that they were within 100 meters of the confluence
to take the photos, so this visit is considered a success.