Saturday, June 11, 2011

Columbia River Gorge

We spent Monday evening and Tuesday morning exploring old Highway 30 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River gorge, starting out at sunrise and arriving at our hiking destination around noon.  What a beautiful area that is with all its waterfalls and with the awesome scenery of the gorge visible all along the route.

Horsetail FAlls and Multnomah Falls

The Bridge at Multnomah Falls

Vista House

The Columbia Gorge Looking East from Vista House

The Gorge Looking West from Vista House

Sunset through the Windows of Vista House

We started taking pictures of the falls already Monday evening, but photography was a bit difficult since the sun was already going down and the contrast between sun and shadow did not allow for really good photos.  We drove from the Bridge of the Gods to Vista House before looking for a place to spend the night.

The next morning we started early and drove from Pendleton back to Horsetail Falls along old Highway 30.  We stopped at most of the falls for pictures, even though we had seen them the evening before.  We also stopped for pictures of some of the wildflowers that were growing along the road.

The Gorge Looking East from Angel's Landing

Looking East with Vista House Visible on the Cliffs at the Right

Through the Parapet at Vista House

Latourell Falls

The Falls at Sheppherd's Dell

Sheppherd's Dell

Blue-eyed Mary

Unnamed Rivulet

Common Camas

The Cams had a few White-flowered Forms

Poison Delphinium

Horsetail Falls

Piggy-back Plant

Multnomah Falls

We spent Tuesday afternoon hiking before heading to Portland but that's another post.  All in all it was an incredible two days.  We had seen so much that we were a bit overwhelmed by it all and it was a relief to land in Portland at a friend's home in preparation for the meeting of the Oregon Orchid Society Tuesday evening at which I spoke on the "Native Orchids of the Pacific Northwest."

Monday, June 6, 2011

Catherine Creek

After leaving Snow Mountain Ranch on May 16th, we headed for the Columbia River gorge and Catherine Creek, one of our favorite places in the gorge.  On the way we stopped to take pictures in several different places both along Highway 82 and along Highway 14, the highway that runs the length of the gorge on the Washington side.

Arriving at Catherine Creek around 1:00 in the afternoon, we found that we were earlier than last year and that some of the flowers we had come to see were not blooming yet.  We did, however, find wildflowers we had not seen there before including the Bitterroots.  We photographed many of the flowers and the creek and scenery as well before heading on to our next location, the Oregon side of the gorge.

We saw more wildflowers than I could count.  Those shown here are (in order), Bitterroot (Lewsia rediviva), Broadleaf Stonecrop (2 pictures), Cornflower, Sea Blush (2 pictures), Chickweed Monkeyflower, White-top Clover and Fiddleneck.  My wife also had two encounters with rattlesnakes.  She almost stepped on a small one and was about to climb a rocky outcrop when she noticed a large snake sunning itself on the top of the rocks.  I was disappointed that I didn't at least get to see them.

We had hoped to visit Multnomah Falls in Oregon and do some hiking in that area.  We arrived there as the sun was going down and spent some time around the falls and scouting a place for the next day's hiking before going on to find a place to spend the night.  We ended up at a truck stop and after putting the curtains up in the back of our van and laying out our pads and sleeping bags spent a comfortable and quiet night there.

That is all the subject of another post, but we did stop in various places along the gorge to take pictures of the scenery, the wildflowers and other things of interest.  It was at one of these stops that I not only saw but was able to photograph as Scrub Jay, a new bird for me, and a very beautiful bird, too, in my opinion.  We saw him in place east of Bingen, Washington, where we had gotten out to explore.