Yes, I know that I said this page was for Naches with the intent of introducing you to Chinook Pass. However, when you head west from Naches you will go a few miles and hit the junction to take either White Pass or Chinook Pass. If you have time to spare go a mile or two up White Pass to the Elk Feeding station. If you're lucky (timing is right) you'll have the opportunity to see a whole bunch of elk.
If you aren't familiar with elk, they are VERY big. They seem even bigger if you are pulling into your driveway on the way home from work and they're "mounting" eachother" in your park spot...
Last time I was in Naches there was only one fast food place. It used to be called the "Lariat", but the last time I checked it was called the "Laredo".
It's greasy fast food done in the old style. You get big burgers the way you want them. Not like these Mc'Donalds" processed miniburgers that cost 5 times what they should.
Favorite Dish: Ok, I might be biased here... I worked there for a while in high school. It's still my favorite pick though.
I always preferred the BBQ burger. It has a special sauce that makes me want to get one right now. (Unfortunately I can't justify a $1,000 plane ticket and a few days off work to get one, that's not even mentioning jetlag).
They also do milkshakes like you want them. There are about 50 flavors of milkshake that you can have and mix. My favorite was always the Chocolate - Marshmellow combo (that'll give ya a heartattack!).
Ha sniffle snort, oh my stomack hurts.
Nightlife in Naches is who and what you bring. Last I checked there were between 1,500 and 2,000 residents. We're talkin' town the size of "don't blink or you'll miss it".
But seriously, if you go camping with some friends on Chinook Pass and are properly prepared you will have a blast.
If you don' t object to cold and are familiar with sledding or "tubing" I recommend the following:
- Find a nice hill to sled down
- Set up you camp site
- Build a bonfire at the bottom of the hill
- Pack your keg (or whatever you prefer) in the snow near the bonfire
- Sled or tube away!!!
Dress Code: Heck, I don't care if ya run around nekked! Have fun!
While spending time on Chinook pass think twice about buying you "dreamhouse". If you're looking for a summer home, that's great. However, Chinook pass is closed for nearly 5 months out of the year. Unless you like REALLY long commutes to Seattle, you may want to look elsewhere.
Far be it from me to consider discouraging anyone from the area, but please make a fully informed decision.
If you're thinking of moving into the area, there are very few areas that are as good as Naches to raise a child in. You're in the great outdoors. Almost not TV. Excellent schools, etc...
What to buy: If you buy an older house check (and I mean really check) the pipe insulation. If you've never had to use an outhouse when it's minus 60 (with wind chill), you can't fully appeciate this. If you don't like chopping wood, and don't have a lot of money to burn, stay off of the pass.
Be aware that you will need to take either weekly or bi-monthly trip into the "big city" of Yakima. Yakima is about an hour away. Yakima is also not a pretty city in many regards.
The only really dangerous type of critter in the Naches area, besides tourists ; ), are the rattlesnakes. This area has the smaller verision (2 - 4 feet) long that are sometimes refered to as "timber rattlers".
There aren't that many rattlers in the area, but you still need to keep an eye/ear out just in case. There are four primary things you should know about rattlers (if you don't already):
- They're blind
- They can sense movement
- They can sense heat
- They can only strike about as high as 2/3 their length
With this in mind, if you hear the distinctive sound of one you should immediately stop and figure out where it is. If you simply jump backward you may end up getting yourself in trouble. The rattlesnake may not have realized you were around until after you stepped past it. It may take your reaction as a threat, and guess what, you just got bit.
The most dangerous environments for you to encounter rattlers are on top of rocks (be careful if you're climbing something and can't see where you're putting your hand) or in high brush where you can't see the ground you're walking into.
If you get bit by a rattler don't do the old "I'll cut you and suck the venom out" trick you see in old movies. It doesn't do anything but give you another wound that needs to be healed. If you are alone, remain calm (keeping your blood pressure down is critical) and go find the nearest person you can. If you are a long way from help and you are bit on an extremity, use a MILD tourniquet (don't stop the blood flow, just slow it down). Do whatever you can to keep the biten area below the level of your heart, gravity is your friend here. If you find someone, send that person for help, lie down and did I mention to stay calm?
Continued on "Tastes like Chicken Take Two"..
Ok, now you have a dead deadly rattler. What are you going to do with it? If you're a redneck you're gonna mount it over the fireplace right? But how exactly:
1. Get a piece of wood that is longer and wider than the snake you have.
2. Get a box of 100 tacks/push pins.
3. Get a can of fine salt.
4. In as straight of a line as possible, cut the belly of the snake down the middle. Start by inserting your knife in it's anus and working your way up to where itýs head used to be.
5. Now carefully remove itýs skin from itýs insides. Throw away all internal organs and such until youýre left with it's spine and the meat attached and it's skin.
6. Once you have the skin removed carefully scrape off any excess meat.
7. Take the skin, raw side up, and spread it on your piece of wood. Starting with the front of the snake skin (the part where itýs head used to be) mildly stretch the skin and "tack" it every inch or so to the wood. Proceed until you get to the rattles.
8. Now cover the entire skin in about a 1/8 inch layer of salt. Place the skin and board in the sun for at least one week, or in a warm dry room for a minimum of 2 weeks and let it cure. The hotter and dryer the better for curing. When you are absolutely sure that all moisture has been sucked out, you are done.
Did you want to eat that? If you aren't adverse to trying new "cuisine", once you have initially skinned the rattler, take the spine and meat attached and cook it any way you like. There isn't much meat (even less than spare ribs), and guess what, It tastes kinda like chicken!
Did you get a bunch of skins? If so, how many do you really want to keep? Heck, give some away as gifts, or sell 'em. Selling them is really easy! Especially to a tourist ; ) What better souvenir could you have of your visit to the great outdoors than a rattlesnake skin.
Hunting rattlers (my way)... I take no responsibility at all for your safety if you try this and screw up. First thing to know is "Murphy's Law". If you're hunting for them, half the time you won't find one. Figures huh? But seriously:
1. Build a snake stick. Get a 4 foot length of sturdy 1/2 inch PVC pipe and a 10 foot length of 1/4 inch rope. Double up the rope, run it through the PVC and you have a noose on the end.
2. Get a long (preferably 6 inch long) knife.
3. Wear high (knee height) thick (at least 1/4 inch thick) leather boots. I actually used to take old pieces of stove pipe, put them on and then put my boots on for extra protection. Just to make sure you have protection if they try to bite you. Nothin' funnier than having a rattler strike the metal on your leg and then getting more ticked off... Did I mention I have a messed up sense of humor?
4. Once you hear or see a rattler move to within grabbing distance of your snake stick. Take your time and move slowly. Remember they only "see" movement and heat? Well, if you slowly extend your noose (which is ambient temperature) over it's neck you can now close the noose. You know have one extremely upset and very poisonous critter in you hands. Make sure to get him just at the back of the head. Why, you ask?
5. Very carefully lower the rattler back to the ground, still pinned in the noose. Get your knife, and once it's calmed down enough (not thrashing around anymore) cut it's head off. Why did you grab it just behind the head? Because the distance between your knife and it's striking range was decreased drastically. So was your chance of getting bit! If you have any question whatsoever at anytime about your safety STOP and LEAVE!!!
Ran out of room again, continued on "Tastes like Chicken, Take Three".
Visit the Oak Creek Game Range - Elk Feeding Station in Fall and Winter. Get up close to hundreds of Elk. Bring a camera!
The Naches river is a lot of fun to float on an old car/truck/tractor tube. There are however certain things to take into consideration.
Nearly every year the Naches river "floods". This means that the danger spots and flow of the river change every year. ALWAYS scope out your route in advance.
The basic tube ride consists of the following (for those of you who have never done it):
- Go to a tire store and ask them for an inner tube
- Get them to inflate it
- Go to the river, sit in the tube and let the current take you where it will
But please, I must say it again, make sure you know your route. A friend of mine lost his fiance because they came upon an unexpected "logjam". Rivers can be VERY fun if you plan ahead. They can end your life if you don't.
Oh, always plan ahead... Once you know your route take everyone to the start point and make sure that there is a car at the end point. If there isn't a car at the end point you'll have a long walk back up the start point. (don't want to end your enjoyable float with a 20 mile hike to get home).
Equipment: Any inner tube big enough to keep you above the rivers surface.