Nice sunny weather on a weekend day in the spring. Pinch me! Can it really be true?
It was time to grab the hiking gear, head to the Columbia River Gorge and drive east to the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trailhead about 70 miles from home.
After climbing out of some scattered oak trees to an open plateau, I marveled at the wildflower show. Purple death camas lilies, pale prairie stars, cluster lilies and many more. After admiring the colorful show, I headed west and began steeply climbing on deer trails to a high canyon above the little town of Lyle.
Turning back toward the northeast, I continued to the high point on the ridge above the Trailhead, 1,500 feet above the Columbia River. The views up and down the Gorge were spectacular. Following the top of the ridge to the east led me to a high vantage spot above a large meadow, once the site of a cherry orchard.
Before dropping down to the meadow, I continued east ascending another steep ridge. With all the oak trees along the trail I decided to check my hiking pants for ticks and, sure enough, there was one of the little bloodsuckers near my cuffs. Off it went.
The hike continued to be very pleasant. I dropped to an open, grand overlook of the Columbia River flowing out of the desert country. A few mature Ponderosa pines were scattered around, as were one or two old cherry trees which had seen their better days.
After a light snack and short rest, I returned to the trailhead. All in all the trek was 6.5 miles in length with 1,800 feet of elevation gain. A winner by any definition.
Western Oak Duskywing