The Beauty of Nature and the Preciousness of Life

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Catherine Creek

First weekend of spring and what a day it was.

Sunshine and blue skies with a little snow on the ground above 2,000 feet. Too many colorful wild flowers to count in the lower elevations and a few butterflies to keep me company.

I truly enjoyed a nine-mile, 2,000-foot elevation gain hike on the east side of Catherine Creek Canyon, mainly in open Oak Savannah.


Besides multitudes of purple grass widows, there were gold stars, buttercups, yellow and Columbia desert parsley, great hound’s tongue, larkspur and western saxifrage in bloom.

As I moved into the timber on the upper ridge, I spotted numerous deer tracks where I occasionally spot blacktail deer and wild turkeys. There were none to be seen on this day.

Several years ago I met a man a few years younger than me in that same spot. He was dressed in camouflage and carrying a shotgun. After greeting him he showed me a large wild turkey tom he had got that morning.

He explained he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Turkey hunting in the Catherine Creek area was a key item on his six-month bucket list.

As a child, his family would come to visit his grandparents nearby. In the springtime, he, his dad and grandfather would hunt turkeys in the canyons near Catherine Creek. The memories were very special to him.

After saying goodbye I thought about how much I admired his courage and drive. Would I be as brave, or would I fall into the pit of depression?

California Tortoiseshell Butterfly


Columbia River far below

Columbia Desert Parsley, Great Houd’s Tongue, Rusty Popcorn Flower, Western Saxifrage, False Agoseris and Biscuit Root

Mt. Hood rising above the Columbia River

Natural arch

Wild Lilies: Yellow Bell and Common Camas

Wildflowers galore

Grass Widow

Yes, a little snow remains above 2,000′

Desert Parsley and White Oaks: a common sight in the Oak Savannah regions

Hikers starting in the early afternoon




Categories: Columbia River Gorge Hikes, Personal ReflectionsTags: , ,

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