First Wildflowers of 2015


It’s that time of the year. Some gardeners believe the first crocus in bloom is the official harbinger of spring. Other folks wait until the equinox.

The local meteorologists contend spring occurs when the average daily temperature exceeds 50 degrees, the third week of February.

For me, spring begins when I see the first wildflower. On the fourth weekend of January I was successful.

It is now official: the first day of spring in 2015 has occurred! That’s pretty amazing when you consider we live north of the 45th parallel.

The Catherine Creek area always makes for a fine hiking area on the east side of the Columbia River Gorge. It has basalt cliffs, oak grasslands, many blacktail deer, birds to photograph and interesting trails.

It’s also one of the best places to spot early wildflowers. And spot wildflowers I did – – – – more than 30 purple grass widows were in bloom. They are a showy, but small, member of the iris family.

My hike was about nine to 10 miles, taking me up about 2,000 feet to the northern boundary of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area.

A nice day indeed!

Grass Widow

Grass Widow

Recently devoured Blacktail Deer

Recently devoured Blacktail Deer

Columbia River far below

A foggy Columbia River far below

An old corral near the bottom of Catherine Creek

An old corral near the bottom of Catherine Creek

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Small waterfall on Catherine Creek

Small waterfall on Catherine Creek

White Oak and Ponderosa Pine trees in the grassy savannah

White Oak and Ponderosa Pine trees in the grassy savannah

Grass Widow

Grass Widow

Bottom of Catherine Creek Canyon and the Columbia RIver

Bottom of Catherine Creek Canyon and the Columbia RIver

A Blacktail Deer that didn't make it through the winter

A Blacktail Deer that didn’t make it through the winter

Trail leading through the White Oaks

Trail leading through the White Oaks

 

 

Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , , , ,

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