A Gorgeous Winter Day at Catherine Creek: Too Many Wildflowers to Count


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Catherine Creek

Oak savannah, eastern Columbia River Gorge, sunshine on southern-facing slopes and it’s early March.

Mix all the ingredients together and you have the makings for a wildflower extravaganza.

Wildflower bouquet: Grass Widow, Salt & Pepper, and Gold Star

Purple grass widows were in bloom by the hundreds as I readied my daypack at the Catherine Creek Trailhead.

Hiking west of the creek, looking to gain 1,900 feet of elevation over the next few miles, little wildflowers were everywhere – – – yellow bells, small-flowered prairie stars, gold stars, biscuit root, Columbia desert parsley and western saxifrage.

As I gained elevation, the wildflowers slowly disappeared and by 1,500 feet I was hiking in scattered snow.

After reaching the top of the mountain underneath a high-voltage transmission tower, I ate a light snack and enjoyed the views all the way down to the Columbia River.

On the initial part of my trek downhill, I was treated to the wonderful sound of wild turkeys in the nearby oak trees. A nice lullaby indeed.

Mt. Hood over the Columbia River

Parsleys: Columbia Desert, Salt & Pepper, and Biscuit Root

Acorn Woodpecker

Huge natural arch in cliffs above Catherine Creek

Yellow Bell (wild Lily), Western Saxifrage, and Small-flowered Prairie Star,

Looking over the Catherine Creek Canyon

Gold Star, Grass Widow (a rare white one), and Grass Widow

Long look up the Columbia River

Trail leading up the ridge

Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , ,

6 comments

  1. Ahhh, the Columbia River Gorge, always a true pleasure, John. I so enjoyed the spring wildflowers and the expansive views of this magnificent place on earth. I really appreciated your labeling of each wildflower, and luxuriated in the spring flowers. I espec. marvelled at the penultimate photo, indeed a long look surveying the beautiful Columbia.

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  2. Loved the pictures.
    John you are a blessing to all of us.
    Ed

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  3. Love the photos and names of the wildflowers. Which Catherine Creek Hike did you do? Thx.

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    • Thanks for the kind words. I drove to the Catherine Creek trailhead east of White Salmon WA in the Columbia River Gorge. Then I hiked up the open Oak Savannah area above the western side of Catherine Creek.

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