Wednesday, February 22, 2012
U ~ Um(p)tanum
Umptanum or Umtanum are both the same word. Like many Native language words, the phonetic spellings of these non-written languages give rise to a lot of variation.
But the meaning is always clear, the word means Contentment.
It is said the ridges of this upland area was home to many native animals such as Pronghorn Antelope, Elk and Deer, Jack Rabbit and some Mountain Goat. The canyons running to to the river basins were often mild and snow free. It was here that native peoples could count on finding food species in harsh seasons and access to their grassy grazing areas in the Spring and Summer.
I spent many hours along the top of the plateau doing bluebird nest box census. I also gathered nests for an Entomologist to study nest parasites.
Time and again I was drawn to this spot. I had thought, through faulty reading, that this was an old stagecoach stop, but I have since learned that this was an old wheat ranch. I met an elderly gentleman here who said he lived on this place during WWII. To the east of this ridge the Yakima River has dug a great canyon and the hiking in and out of the canyons are not for the faint of heart. Blazing sun in the season and persistent wind.
But great views, wonderful flora and fauna and wide horizons are the bonus.