Friday, June 20, 2014

Our ride was in a vehicle today

Terry, one of the owners of the Methow Valley Inn, offered to bring us to the top of the next pass, Loup Loup. So our bike got to ride in another pick up to the top of the pass and partly down the other side and up another steep section.  On the ride Terry told us a lot about the Methow Valley and how many trails there are in the area for summer and winter sports as well as a lot about the climate and the landscape. It was really neat to hear so much about an area that we might have passed through without understanding it nearly as so well.
We started down the mountain to Okanogan.  Whew, what a downhill!  Dave was taking it slow because there was fairly new chip seal on the road so he didn't want to risk a skid out. We also stopped once to let the brakes cool.
On the way down we noticed several orchards where acres of cherry trees were entirely covered with netting. Later I spoke with a cherry grower and he said that netting costs about $20,000 an acre and ate to keep the birds away. He did not see the need for it. He said that he tends to let crows be, they don't actually do as much damage as songbirds,  but they do keep the smaller birds away.
He also said that the most damage to cherries comes from rain. The rain gathers on the stem end and swells the inside of the cherry but the skin splits.  He said that he and all the growers in the area use helicopters to dry the cherries if they have a big rain.
The area here is xeric, very dry. Their annual precipitation is 16 inches and half of that comes during the winter as snow. This compares with about 80 inches of precipitation up near Rainy Pass in the Cascades.
The land is sagebrush and Ponderosa and Lodgepole pines instead of the fir and hemlock we saw in the Cascades.

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