My family and I escaped the gloom and the rain in the valley with a trip east into the Columbia River Gorge. It was a wildflower hunting expedition and we bagged at least 15 specimens. By “bagged” I mean photographed. It was a fairly long hike off trail through some Forest Service land. We ran into wild turkeys, a few deer and a lot of poison oak. Don’t let these innocent looking little leaves trick you… it’s fresh grown poison!
We were following a route my Dad saved in his GPS while hiking with friends who know the area well, so I can’t give directions other than saying we looped through the hills south of Memaloose State Park. The flowers are blooming now so if you want to see some beautiful blooms head into the gorge. Here are links to a couple articles on places to go. I really enjoyed Coyote Wall and the Labyrinth as well as Catherine Creek.
We had to hike about a mile before we saw anything, but then the flowers really exploded. Entire fields and hillsides were covered. Most common were the big yellow Balsamroot flowers. They made me feel like I was inside a Van Gogh painting. I’m not confident on the names of any others, but I think there were some glacier lily, lupine, yellow salsify, Oregon grape, clover and my favorite, Indian paintbrush. Let me know if you recognize any others, I’m FAR from an expert on flower identification.
It was such a beautiful day. Since we were on the northeast side of Mt. Hood, you could see how the clouds really got stuck on the cascades, leaving us in sunshine all afternoon. It was pretty windy, but warm enough for just a light jacket.
If you decide to head out to find flowers, remember they keep getting thicker the higher you climb, so keep heading up.