Live in the Yakima Valley - The Good LifeBlog

Joe Schmitt

Joe Schmitt

Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy.  The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.



The Good Life

Kid Friendly Summer Activities

Kid Friendly Summer Activities - May 27, 2015

With the school year quickly coming to an end, there are plenty of fun things to do for kids and families. Parks and recreation coordinators and local organizations are busily preparing city parks, cleaning and filling swimming pools, and registering kids and families for different activities and events. Many cities in the region have popular swim programs in addition to tennis lessons, T-Ball and baseball programs, and soccer camps to name just a few. There's truly something for every interest... Read More »

Annual Springer Run a Right of Passage for Local Anglers

Annual Springer Run a Right of Passage for Local Anglers - April 29, 2015

Fishing takes on a whole new meaning in the Yakima Valley with what's known as the annual springer run. It's already underway on the Columbia River and many of its tributaries, but the annual springer run gets even closer to home when the lower Yakima River opens on May 2 nd and the upper Yakima River a week later on May 9 th . A "springer" refers to the Chinook, or king salmon during the spring spawning run. The fish is highly sought after due to its delectable flavor, which is matched only by... Read More »

Recreation:  CrossFit

Recreation: CrossFit - January 26, 2015

CrossFit has been gaining in popularity across the nation and the valley is no stranger to the phenomenon that has folks working up a sweat. Just about every city up and down the valley has a CrossFit gym or program so if you are looking for one to join, you shouldn't have to look too far. "It's a way to go to the gym and actually get results," said Andrew Baranowski, owner and coach at CrossFit Lower Valley gym. This core strength and conditioning program was designed to work numerous ... Read More »

Binoculars & Birds

Binoculars & Birds - January 09, 2015

What do you get when you combine the great outdoors, conservation, research, education, exercise, birds, and binoculars? Give up? You get the Yakima Valley Audubon Society (YVAS). Formed in 1969, the group today busily spends most of its time maintaining and monitoring a "Bluebird Trail", hosting weekly walking trips on the Popoff Trail and monthly fieldtrips to local birding hotspots, maintaining a bird feeding station and blind at the Yakima Area Arboretum, participates, hosts and organizes ... Read More »

2014: A Look Back - December 23, 2014

2014 was a great year, and we enjoyed finding meaningful content to share with you through the Good Life Blog. Here's a look back on the types of stories we covered through year: Recreation . This was probably the easiest topic for me to cover because we live in an outdoor enthusiast's paradise. Our relatively dry climate, central location, numerous sunny days, and varied terrain provides a multitude of options, both indoor and out. Here are some of the stories I covered: Mountain Biking ... Read More »

Day Trip:  White Pass

Day Trip: White Pass - December 05, 2014

Outdoor recreation abounds in the valley with each season ushering in a slew of new activities and these frigid mornings are creating the ideal conditions for winter sports. So bust out the wax, dust off the boots, grab your poles it's officially time to hit the slopes! With spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, a new high camp lodge, and an expanded trail system, White Pass is the place for winter recreation. The icing on the cake? It's a stone's throw away at less than hour's drive from most ... Read More »

The Cascadians:  Yakima Valley’s Outdoor Recreation Gurus

The Cascadians: Yakima Valley’s Outdoor Recreation Gurus - November 10, 2014

If you live in the Yakima Valley there are so many recreational opportunities at your fingertips it can be a little overwhelming. Do not worry though - allow me to introduce to you the Cascadians . When it comes to hiking, biking, skiing, backpacking, snowshoeing, golf, climbing, or mountaineering they've got you covered. The Cascadians are an outdoor recreation and conservation club that was started in the 1920s with the aim to enjoy, promote, explore and preserve the Northwest outdoors. "I ... Read More »

Salsa:  It's HOT

Salsa: It's HOT - August 26, 2014

Spicy, bold, saucy, and fiery are a few ways to describe salsa, but don't read too into it as I'm not describing the dip, but the dance. Salsa dancing is a relatively new form of dancing that evolved in the 70's in New York. Like New York, salsa dancing is quite the melting pot and includes forms of the Mambo, "Cha cha cha", swing dancing, as well as elements of Afro-Cuban and Caribbean dance steps. The dance itself has many variations and is done with a partner, but typical movements include ... Read More »

Roller Derby

Roller Derby - July 22, 2014

Roller Derby is a bit like Nascar, track, and football all rolled into one sport - if you added roller skates, fishnet tights, and face paint. The sport has had a recent resurgence as an all-female, woman organized game, and we can proudly claim the Wine County Crushers as our home town team. Skating Derbies originated in the 1930s. Not much has changed in the way the game is played over the years, unless you count the pseudonyms ( Nacho Friend and Aces Cracked are two nicknames of players on ... Read More »

Day Trip:  Mount Rainier National Park

Day Trip: Mount Rainier National Park - July 14, 2014

Approximately 100 miles to our west, is the majestic Mount Rainier. At 14,410 feet, Rainier is the 17 th tallest peak in the US, is an active volcano, and includes a wide range of ecosystems from glaciated peaks and wildflower meadows, to an old growth forest. Mount Rainier has five developed areas: Longmire, Paradise, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon/Mowich. Although the level of development in these areas ranges from basic -little more than a campground and picnic area- to extensive -hotel... Read More »

Smorgasbord of summer fun

Smorgasbord of summer fun - June 17, 2014

School's out and while sipping lemonade, basking in the sun and eating cherries is great, it is not enough to keep us and our Valley's kids fully engaged all summer long. Not to worry - we've got you covered. I've put together a big list of links to keep you and an army of boys and girls busy right up until the moment that the school bell rings in September. Summer Sports - a great way to stay active, make new friends or try out something new. Today, kids can choose from t-ball, yoga, Zumba... Read More »

Hometown Perch

Hometown Perch - May 12, 2014

From television to print, there are many methods locally to find out what's happening in the valley. But what if you want an insider's account? Someone who is going to share straight up what it's like to live, work and play in the valley If you're looking for something different, let me introduce to you two local bloggers who are sharing their stories in a little blog called, Hometown Perch . Mandi and Stacie both grew up in Yakima, both moved away to big cities, married and had kids, then ... Read More »

Recreation:  Frisbee

Recreation: Frisbee - April 28, 2014

From a 5 cake pan to a million dollar industry, the Frisbee, which at first was called the 'flying saucer' then the 'Pluto Platter' has evolved into one of the most iconic pieces of sports equipment. Whether you like the fast paced competitive game of Ultimate Frisbee or a more leisurely stroll through the park for Frisbee golf, the Valley has you covered. Randall Park in Yakima and Dykstra Park in Grandview both have a 9 hole Frisbee golf courses. The game is essentially played the same way... Read More »

Yakima Valley's Yoga Options Continue to Grow

Yakima Valley's Yoga Options Continue to Grow - March 21, 2014

All around the country, yoga has been growing in popularity, and Yakima County is no exception. In the last couple of years several studios have popped up and local gyms have begun adding classes. With a diversity of available classes you can find something to suit just about everyone. You can take a class that will have your inner circus acrobat grinning with an aerial yoga class, or feel as though you're at a tropical beach with hot yoga. Whether you want to stick to the basics or ... Read More »

Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing - March 04, 2014

With all the fresh snow accumulating in the mountains, now is a great time to go cross country skiing. The average skier won't have too much difficulty picking up the sport, but for those of us with less alpine experience, a lesson or two to identify th e basics is not a bad way to start. The most common form of cross country skiing is referred to as the 'classic style', where one glides on prepared trails that have pairs of parallel grooves cut into the snow. I recently caught up with my ... Read More »

Snowshoeing 101

Snowshoeing 101 - February 03, 2014

While the snow continues to fall on the east coast, our own area is dealing with a range of mixed seasonal emotions. It is a bit depressing to not have at least a little snow around here. I am personally ready for a bough laden, icicle hanging, good old fashioned, snow ball making blizzard, (for a couple of hours any way). When nature doesn't give you what you want (in my case, snow!), grab your snowshoes and head to the mountains! Don't know where to start, the Washington Trails ... Read More »

Mountain Biking in the Valley:  Blazing New Trails

Mountain Biking in the Valley: Blazing New Trails - January 15, 2014

For the past 17 years, Will Hollingbery has been a mountain biking fanatic. "My childhood friends all rode skateboards. I lived in the country and couldn't practice skateboarding at home so I picked up a BMX bike. I've been playing with bicycles since I was five," said Hollinbery. In 2011, along with a group of riders, Hollingbery created a non-profit group called Single Track Alliance of Yakima (STAY), with the goal of protecting the local landscape while enhancing and creating more trails. ... Read More »

Wildlife Abounds in Yakima

Wildlife Abounds in Yakima - December 30, 2013

Despite the cold temperatures, there are plenty of reasons to bundle up and head outdoors; steelhead are surging up coastal rivers, waterfowl hunting is in full swing, and birders are gearing up around the state for the 114th annual Christmas Bird Count (check out our local chapters website for joining in on the bird counting fun). Bull elk, bald eagles, and big horn ram are just a few animals you might see if you head out for some wildlife viewing in Yakima County. The Cascade Mountains to ... Read More »

Winter Race Series Brings Out Hard Core Runners

Winter Race Series Brings Out Hard Core Runners - December 11, 2013

Despite the reported high of 20 F and a low of -2 F, over 160 runners turned out for the opening day of the Winter Race Series put on by the Hard Core Runners Club (HCR) of Yakima. The course covered 3 miles on the Yakima Greenway and was the first in a four set series that takes place now through January 19 th . The race series was devised 21 years ago by HCR member, Kenn Zahn, as a low key way to stay motivated through the cold winter months. The first race saw a turnout of 30 runners in ... Read More »

Last Chance to Flip Flop This Weekend

Last Chance to Flip Flop This Weekend - September 26, 2013

Whitewater Rafting- The Tieton River is the result of an autumn seasonal dam release from beautiful Rimrock Lake. The Lake is full this year, and is expected to run at a high flow this season for a fast and wild ride. Now that other Washington rivers have slowed down, the Tieton is the place to be for lots of whitewater rafting fun. Twelve miles of whitewater with Class III rapids is sure to be a river rafting experience you will never forget. Why is this experience called the "Flip Flop?" The... Read More »


STRENGTH. STAMINA. MUD. - August 26, 2013

The Pirates Plunder Adventure Race Back By Popular Demand Batten down the hatches, the Pirate Plunder is here again! 2013 marks the second year of the Pirate Plunder Adventure Race which is a 4+ mile obstacle course race that combines ever changing terrain with 16 obstacles to test your strength, stamina, and love of mud. You'll climb over walls up to 14' high, crawl through a 100' long mud pit, slide down a 30' water slide, and face many other challenges all while running through a blend of ... Read More »

Tee Time

Tee Time - July 30, 2013

Yakima Valley Home to Beautiful Greens From an exec utive golf course such as Fisher Park to Apple Tree Resorts championship course the Yakima area is home to a variety of places to play for any level of golfer. One of Yakima's finest golfing experience is Apple Tree Golf Course. Located in an orchard in West Yakima, it offers an opportunity to enjoy a gorgeous experience in the country. Apple Tree has gained notoriety for the famous 17th hole, a par-3 apple-shaped island representing one of ... Read More »

Extreme Running Event Features Something for Everybody

Extreme Running Event Features Something for Everybody - June 07, 2013

Grey Rock Trail Run Features 50K, 25K and 12 K distances On July 13th, the 9th Annual Grey Rock Trail Run will take place 30 miles west of Yakima, at the Tree Phones Campground near Tampico, in the Ahtanum State Forest. The field is limited to the first 150 runners, who will compete in 50K, 25K, and 12K runs. The 50K features over 6,000 feet of elevation gain and loss! The shorter distances can even be hiked instead of run if you prefer. If you are not up to these distances there is still ... Read More »

Gone Fishin' - April 15, 2013

Opening Day is a Tradition in our Valley. For many Valley residents spring signals the start of fishing season. With hundreds of outlets for fishing and some of the best conditions in the country, Yakima County is truly a Mecca for anglers of all ages. According to Rob Phillips, experienced angler and guest columnist for the Yakima Herald-Republic, "The Yakima River, once one of the most prolific rivers in the West, still provides some great fishing opportunities. Fly anglers from around the... Read More »

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"The Yakima Valley is just a great place to live! We have great weather with four beautiful seasons making for lots of recreational activities." - Lisa Shields-Long, Shields Bag & Printing