A beautiful sunny Memorial Day with little wind. An early start for a nice outing sounded like a great idea.
I drove to the east side of the Columbia River Gorge to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. Basalt cliffs, oak grasslands and interesting trails make it a pleasurable hiking area in the spring.
I headed south through an open, relatively flat area for one-half mile. Wild onion, cluster lilies, golden balsamroot and purple larkspur created swaths of color on the green plateau.
Then the Trail became serious, gaining 1,000 feet in a little over one mile before reaching the top of McCall Point at 1,700 feet. The views extended for miles up and down the Gorge.
For a challenge I followed game trails and over-grown roads on a three-mile loop back to the Trailhead. After one mile I dropped off the cliffs into a steep canyon, following an old logging road through an oak forest with a few mature Ponderosa pines intermixed.
Eventually, the old roads led to a large talus slope with a rough trail leading back to the plateau. It made for an enjoyable five-mile hike with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.
The wildflowers and butterflies were truly spectacular, but I also also enjoyed the multiple fence lizards and a gopher snake along the way.