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Andy Dappen | Weathering the November grays

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The trails around the Ancient Lakes area are good for November excursions. (wenatcheeoutdoors.com)

November — it’s the ’tweener month that’s neither autumn nor winter, sand nor snow, brown nor white, yin nor yang. November is such a desperate month that when a cold rain muddies the local trails yet fails to pile up sufficient snow for winter sports I sometimes find myself whispering blasphemy to my wife, “Wanna catch a movie?”

Of course, many November days are perfectly adequate for outdoor yahoos ... if you pick the venue right.

Options to consider:

Log some final Sage Hills fixes. The Land Trust and public utility district properties in the Sage Hills close for four months as of Dec. 1, so pack in a few extra walks or mountain bike rides in these hills adjacent to Wenatchee before the closing. One caveat to observe: Stay off the trails for a day or two following a rain. The trails here get muddy easily this time of year, and it’s easy to cause trail damage — a problem for trails that see limited maintenance. If you’re leaving footprints or tire ruts deeper than one quarter inch, turn around and give the trails another day to dry, or visit in the early morning after a frost when the ground is frozen.

Canoe or kayak Crescent Bar. The tall cliffs bordering the Columbia River around the bar are beautiful. And at this time of year the motorboat activity of summer has been knocked back, like mosquitoes following the first frost, leaving the surroundings quiet enough for the scary occasion of hearing yourself think.

Head east for better weather. It rains less around Quincy than Wenatchee, so the Beezley Hills and the Ancient Lakes are excellent environs for November excursions. Also, the soils around both these destinations are rocky, sandy and absorbent. Even if it’s raining, the drainage is excellent and you can keep walking without worry of inflicting trail damage.

Utilize the Vantage advantage. It’s also drier around Vantage, about an hour’s drive from Wenatchee. Rock climbers visit the cliffs here throughout November and into December; mountain bikers can ride in French Hills and along the Babcock Bench; and the short hikes around the Gingko Petrified Forest are worthy walks.

Finally use November to gear up or retool for other seasons. Use the Fourth Annual Gear Swap at the Inner Circle Gym (Wenatchee, 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday) to find needed gear or unload unused toys before they’re too antiquated to sell.

Andy Dappen is the content editor of WenatcheeOutdoors.org. The on-line guidebooks at that site have entries for all the destinations mentioned above with the details and maps needed for visiting.

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