Snakes and Orchids

Wow! A promise of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. I grabbed the hiking gear and drove to the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort in the Columbia River Gorge. The Resort owners are kind enough to allow hikers to park on the west side of their facility.

After hiking a rough trail for one mile north and gaining 700 feet, Carpenter’s Meadow was reached. Heading northeast on an old logging road, I crossed the Pacific Crest Trail in another mile. The scenery along the Trail was a combination of tiny bluish snow queens in bloom, sword ferns, skunk cabbage, leafless alders, moss, second-growth Douglas fir trees and a few bright white trilliums.

Heading northeast on old logging roads, I was surprised to see hundreds of pink calypso orchids in the forest duff. Soon the double waterfalls of Greenleaf Falls were reached (although someone had put up a sign naming them Cave Falls.) What a sight! They are one of the few spectacular waterfalls on the north side of the Gorge.

Upon returning to the Meadow I decided to take a three-quarter mile, 500-foot elevation gain hike to top of Aldrich Butte. Finding a spot with a nice view, I enjoyed a break before returning to the car. All in all the hike was a very pleasant 10 miles in length with 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

The sheer southern face of Table Mountain ( the top is by far the premier viewpoint in the Gorge)

Is it a pink guppy or a wild calypso orchid?

Greenleaf Falls

Can you spot the “bleeding heart”?

Mudslide over trail (like walking on wet concrete)

Garter Snake soaking up some rays

Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , , , , ,


  1. you could have left out that garter snake, but the flowers are beautiful!

  2. The snake appeared so happy in the sunshine that I couldn’t resist

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