Sunshine, temperatures in the 50’s and green grass as far as the eye can see.
In a few more weeks the hills will be covered in golden balsamroot and purple lupine. For now I am happy with purple grass widows, yellow buttercups, gold stars, salt & pepper, yellow desert parsley and delicate spring-beauties.
In the mouth of Eightmile Creek Canyon, I find a grave of a person born in 1825. Amazingly enough, the area has changed little over the last two centuries.
Scattered oak trees are soon left behind, but not without some loud gobbling by wild turkeys caused by a low-swooping golden eagle.
I emerge into the wide open spaces of the east end of the Columbia River Gorge. Several deer feed near the crest of the canyon. Multiple chukars jump at my approach with a wild cackle as they fly away.
After a couple of hours of ascending the interesting canyons, I reach the 3,300-foot summit of Stacker Ridge where an FAA tracking site is located.
The 360° views are spectacular, including the Columbia River stretching far to the east and rimrock canyons to the north.
After a leisurely lunch it was time to take a slow hike back to the car. Does a late-winter hike get any better?