Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Catherine Creek


On our way back from Eastern Washington we detoured and visited the Columbia River gorge once again and this time spent a day at Catherine Creek, exploring some familiar areas and hiking some new areas further inland.  Catherine Creek empties into the Columbia River and the area has been preserved for its unique flora and wonderful scenery.  We spent nearly a whole day there and though it was windy and photography difficult, did manage to see and photograph many of the wonderful wildflowers blooming there.

We had driven down the previous evening, had slept in the van the rest of the night,
and so were up early to and enjoyed to magnificent view of the river,
and, as usual many of the pictures are my wife's.









We first walked the paved trails near the parking area
and photographed the trees and wildflowers there.

The Ponderosa Pines were setting their cones.









Sadly, however, many of them are being killed by an outbreak of the California Fivespined Ips Bark Beetle.


The Garry Oaks, too, were as beautiful as always and in full leaf.



Catherine Creek is another wildflower paradise:

 California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica,



Sea Blush, Plectritis congesta,



Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus, a non-native,



Heart-leaved Buchwheat, Eriogonum compositum,




Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva, just starting to bloom down by the river,
but in full flower up in the hills,


Wild Roses, which I haven't identified,



Bicolor Triteleia, Triteleia grandiflora var. howellii,



Common Camas, Camassia quamash, nearly finished,


Oregon Sunshine, Eriophyllum lanatum,


and Red-stem Storksbill, Erodium cicutarium, another non-native,


and Balsamroots, Balsamorhiza deltoidea.


Finished on the trails we went exploring down by the creek,
a favorite place, but a haunt of rattlesnakes and ticks.
There we photographed both the creek and more wildflowers,
and looked for native orchids, though we found none.






The Broadleaf Stonecrop, Sedum spathulifolium, were everywhere.




We found more Bicolor Triteleia, Triteleia grandiflora var. howellii,


lots of White-top Clover, Trifoium variegatum,


the Chickweed Monkeyflower, Mimulus alsinoides, expertly photographed by my wife,


 and we began to find Bitterroot, Lewisia rediviva, in bloom.


Finished at the creek we hiked up above the parking area into the hills,
an area we had not explored before.
We had a very pleasant hike and found plenty more wildflowers,
rediscovered the creek, and found plenty else to photograph.

We found Bitterroot everywhere, but were struck by the fact that the flowers here
were much smaller and paler than we had seen elsewhere.







We met the creek once again and had to cross it on an old log.





As we hiked up the canyon above the creek,
we began to see patches of Barrett's Penstemon, Penstemon barrettiae,
and Pungent Desert Parsley, Lomatium grayei, on the canyon walls.




There was an old horse or cattle corral in the canyon and what may have been the remains of a cabin.









Continuing up the canyon we found more wildflowers,
including the Columbia Gorge Lupine, Lupinus latifolius var. thomsonianus.







New wildflowers were the Giant-head Clover, Trifolium macrocephalum,



Naked Broomrape, Orobanche uniflora,


and False Agoseris, Nothocalais troximoides.


We found two butterflies, Propetius' Dusky Wing Skipper, Erynnis propetius,


and the Anise Swallowtail, Papilio zelicaon.


Near the end of our hike we found and watched some Western Fence Lizards,
Sceloporus occidentalis.




The view from the ridge at the top was magnificent but the light was not very good.


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