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.

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