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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.
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.
Parsleys: Columbia Desert, Salt & Pepper, and Biscuit Root
Yellow Bell (wild Lily), Western Saxifrage, and Small-flowered Prairie Star,
Gold Star, Grass Widow (a rare white one), and Grass Widow