First Wildflowers of 2018

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 first weekend of February I was successful.

That’s pretty amazing when you consider we live north of theĀ 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 purple grass widows were in bloom than I could count. They are a showy, but small, member of the iris family. They were joined with many small, white salt-and-pepper parsley and western saxifrage wildflowers.

A nice outing indeed!

Grass Widow

Small pond near trailhead

Western Saxifrage

Fresh snow on Mt. Hood

Grass Widow


Grass Widow

Looking up the Columbia River

Western Saxifrage

Road to Catherine Creek

Grass Widow




Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , ,


  1. Great news that spring has come to the Columbia River area, John. I liked reading your definition of what that is. The wildflowers you share here are delightful; I think the grass widows, a flower I have never seen before, are exceptionally vibrant. Also enjoyed the overviews of the trailhead, Mt. Hood, the Gorge and the road.

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