I’ve never hiked up Goose Hill before. I never even knew that’s what the hill just east of Benton City was called. For years I’ve driven past the orchards surrounding the house on Goose Hill and then I read about it in Bruce Bjornstad’s book, On the Trail of the Ice Age Floods: a geological field guide to the Mid-Columbia Basin. So, I decided to go on a hike today and headed for Benton City.
The hike started out very dusty as the dirt parking area and jeep trails are powdery with the summer heat and minimal moisture we’ve received. With no moisture, there were no geese. I’m not sure why this is called Goose Hill but such is the case. As I got out of the ATV riding area and headed up the incline, I found the features Bjornstad wrote about in his book. The book is fascinating and I did this review if you’d like to read more. I haven’t been out hiking for a few weeks because of other fitness pursuits and avoiding the heat so I was expecting to find no flowering plants, just the beautiful tans, browns and dried colors of late summer. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw several specimens of purple fleabane along the trail.As I was hiking up the trail, I was watching the ground carefully while still looking around as the vista improved with the increasing elevation. I hiked during the warm part of the day so I knew there was a danger of snakes. Fortunately, I didn’t see any today! Part way up the hill, I came across some scattered granodiorite boulders that are mentioned in Bjornstad’s book. It’s hard to imagine but geologists say these boulders didn’t originate in our area. They are called erratics. They were rafted here on giant chunks of ice over 10,000 years ago during huge floods which shaped our landscapes. Erratics are transplants from hundreds of miles away, possibly Montana, Idaho or British Columbia. There are several of these boulders scattered along this trail.
As I climbed up the hill through patches of basalt (which is a native type of rock), I kept seeing little critters scurrying across my path. One of them finally stopped long enough for me to get some pictures.It was a beautiful, sunny day. Not too warm and I got a little pink on my face. At the top of Goose Hill, I saw some beautiful views back up the Lower Yakima Valley, across to Rattlesnake and Red Mountains and back to the east to Candy & Badger Mountains and Jump-off Joe. It was minimally hazy but I could see the top of Mt. Adams peeking over the horizon on the west. It was a nice, quiet hike and I was all alone on this hike, an enjoyable day back on the trail!