On the first Saturday of spring with the promise of some sunshine, I drove to Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Less than five miles southeast of home, the 670-acre tract is the only Oregon state park within a major metropolitan area.
The previous week the Oregonian newspaper had published an article of mine where I recommended visiting the Park for its trillium festival on March 31 and April 1. With only a week to go before the festival, I made a 5 ½ mile (1,000-foot elevation gain) loop hike through the Park, including reaching both ends of the Iron Mountain Trail. Hundreds of trilliums were in bloom and the Indian plums were resplendent with their delicate, dangling white blossoms. Yellow stream violets, golden skunk cabbage and reddish salmonberry wildflowers also added welcome splashes of color along the trail.
And, to my delight I saw a barred owl high up in an old cedar tree. That’s the second one I’ve seen this year. But the icing on the cake was two baby mice crawling on the side of an old cedar stump. A pleasant young man and his son had spotted the thumbnail-sized babies and point them out to me. Spring has certainly arrived, bringing new life and beautiful wildflowers.