Pulling the nose up, the forward visibility still surprisingly good for a tandem taildragger, I put the needle of the airspeed indicator—yes, there’s still a needle—right at best rate of climb, 70 mph—yes, there are still miles per hour, too. Mindful that this is the clean configuration stall speed for a lot of singles, I kept it there, watching the VSI settle in at 1400 fpm as we ascended through 3,500 feet. Rising toward us in the near distance was the evergreen forest of the Cascades, blue-green ridges and mountains, snow still thick on the distant, yet massive peaks of Adams and Rainier.
As we climbed out, we left behind the Yakima River Valley and the rain desert that surrounds it. Beyond the settled land, with its cities and towns, patches of irrigated green, fields of grapes and hemp, lay endless stretches of dry, rocky and rugged land, etched hard with gorges and rock peaks, muted browns and oranges, situated on the shore of the tidal wake of the Cascades.