After spending more than a day in Mount Hood National Forest we traveled across the Columbia River, back into Washington, to the Catherine Creek Natural area, one of our favorite places in spite of its heavy use. We go there nearly every year, though at different times, to see the wildflowers and we were not disappointed this time. We spent several hours there enjoy the views of the Columbia River with Mount Hood in the distance and photographed a seemingly endless array of wildflowers, the blue Camas and pink Sea Blush really putting on an especially good show. Finished and tired we headed home through the Kittitas and Yakima Valleys with their views of Mount Adams and with Mount Rainier just visible to the north of Adams.
At Catherine Creek we walked a series of paved trails between the road and the Colombia River and did not venture down by the creek or up to the bluffs above the road and the river. We found plenty to photograph lower down and were tired as well from the previous day's hiking. One thing we noticed was that most of the Ponderosa Pines were dead or dying. This is from an outbreak in the eastern Columbia River gorge of the California Fivespined Ips Bark Beetle. This outbreak began in 2012 and hopefully is past its worst. The wildflowers, however, made up for the sad condition of the Ponderosas and we had several wonderful hours there.
Giant Blue-eyed Mary
Few-flowered Shooting Star
Smooth Desert Parsley
Common Camas and Sea Blush
the Columbia River, the bluffs and the trails
Oregon White Oak