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EAP’s Favorite Bird
Phlox Point is the 2,957-foot summit of Hardy Ridge and one of the best destinations for a hike near the Portland area.
It’s located in Beacon Rock State Park at the western end of the Columbia River Gorge.
The trailhead is large and easily accessible, the trail doesn’t see a lot of use, it provides a good workout (eight miles with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain), and the views along the top of Hardy Ridge are open and far-ranging.
On a bluebird day in late February, the sunshine was warm and the grass was green under the feet. As I neared the summit, there was scattered snow fields in places.
I had had the entire hike to myself so far, except for one noisy pika and three grouse that weren’t posers. Then, a raven flew into a tree nearby and began cawing at me. Soon I was on the summit taking a break and, to my surprise, the raven lands ten feet away and begins cawing again. Very strange behavior. But, the answer was to come.
As I descended the steep ridge, I saw two ravens land up ahead. In a few more steps I met a hiker with a large, white beard. The ravens were close to him. It turned out he was feeding them, and fed them in the same place every day he hiked Hardy Ridge. I have met him many times in the past in the same area. He’s there multiple times a week.
We began laughing. Of course, the joke was that I also have a whitish beard (much smaller than his.) The raven must have thought that I was him – – – they are smart birds.
You never know what you are going to experience on an outdoor adventure.