Monday, April 18, 2016

Catherine Creek

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.

Common Camas

 Red-stem Storksbill

 White-top Clover

Giant Blue-eyed Mary

 Bugloss Fiddleneck

 Death Camas

 Prairie Star

 Sea Blush

 Small-flowered Lupine

 False Agoseris

 Early Saxifrage

Naked Broomrape

 Bi-colored Triteleia

Few-flowered Shooting Star

 Arrow-leaf Balsamroot

 Smooth Desert Parsley

Twelve-spotted Ladybug

Common Camas and Sea Blush

Mount Hood

 the Columbia River, the bluffs and the trails

 Oregon White Oak

Ponderosa Pine

 Western Serviceberry

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