Elderberry Canyon, located in the Libby Creek drainage, has no elderberries. At least, from what I observed on a recent foray. I could be wrong. My attention was oft distracted by views of silvery granite peaks of the Sawtooth range, adorned by seasonal colors of golden larches.
If you are looking for a short and sweet, in and out, close to town, and relatively flat walk, Elderberry Canyon is one option. To get there, travel 1 mile south of Carlton, and turn right into the Libby Creek drainage. After 3.6 miles, take the left fork and continue on Libby Creek Road for about a quarter of a mile. An old forest road sign indicates “Elderberry Canyon Road End, 2.” The first portion of this dirt road is private. If driving a high-clearance all-wheel drive vehicle, you could drive to the end of this 2-mile rutted road and park in a small clearing. Otherwise, park alongside Libby Creek Road. Do not block the entrance, and do not stray from the easement.
Elderberry Canyon trail begins at the end of this 2-mile rutted and overgrown jeep track. Wide and shaded, the trail is a roadbed that gently climbs for approximately 2 miles through red ponderosa pine, dressed in brilliant wolf lichen. At 2 miles, the trail disappears into a small meadow. Lookout Mountain rises ahead, and the ambitious hiker in search of views can continue on the open ridgeline to the lookout.
This gem is a go-to trail for all seasons. In the spring, yellow balsam and spring beauties carpet the forest floor and frame the views of the Sawtooths. In summer and fall the shaded roadbed is an easy mountain bike ride with rewarding views. Elderberry Canyon is accessible in winter, as Libby Creek Road is reliably plowed. Skiers and snowshoers should look for wider parking pullouts at the junction of Libby Creek Road and Smith Canyon Road and walk the quarter mile to the beginning of Elderberry Canyon Road.
The Last Sunday presentation at Methow Valley Interpretive Center this month features Methow descendant, Jimmy Timentwa. Jimmy has never before shared his stories in an open public forum. As a child, Jimmy accompanied his parents, Julliane Michelle and Alexander Jack Timentwa, into the canyons and upper meadows of the Methow Valley, learning the “right place, time and song for harvest of every root, berry and animal.”
He will share stories of a time when, “salmon were plentiful in our streams, and mountain goats were abundant on the high mountains.” Jimmy’s grandparents were Louis and Rosalie Timentwa, Louis was chief of the Lower Okanogan. Today, Jimmy operates his family ranch on the Colville Reservation.
Jimmy will share his stories, entitiled “Remembrance of Old Times,” on Sunday (Sept. 29) at 5 p.m. in the Interpretive Center, located on the TwispWorks campus. Admission is by donation.