Ready for more wildflower pics? (Of course you are!)
|Sunrise from Memaloose Overlook|
A couple of weeks before my Dalles Mountain Ranch pilgrimage (see previous post), I took a (very) early morning drive on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge to check out spring wildflower bloom. I'd hoped to photograph sunrise at Rowena Crest, but wasn't early enough. Seeing that dawn was about to break, I pulled my car over at nearby Memaloose Overlook. Just in the nick of time - I caught the sun as it climbed over the river.
|Not much flower action on Rowena Plateau|
Sunrise now over it was time to continue onward to Rowena Crest. The plateau below this overlook always has a wonderful spring wildflower display. However, upon arrival it was evident I was too early. A few balsamroot flowers were beginning to bloom, but most were still a week or two away.
|Looking towards Tom McCall Point|
Despite the lack of balsamroot, I wandered Rowena Plateau anyway, snapping pictures of whatever struck my fancy. I loved the morning light on Tom McCall Point, towering over the plateau.
|Balsamroot in the sunlight|
The few balsamroot that were blooming were most lovely, especially backlit by the morning sun.
|Desert Parsley was out in force|
The amount of desert parsley in bloom made up for the low balsamroot numbers, contributing some yellow color to the area.
|Lovely balsamroot flower|
After walking around the plateau for an hour, I decided to drive down the road and check out nearby Memaloose Hills. So back I went, parking at the overlook where I'd captured sunrise just a couple of hours ago.
The Memaloose Hills have a reputation for huge spring wildflower blooms. It's a short one-mile hike to a junction that will take hikers up either Chatfield or Marsh Hills.
|Balsamroot clump on Memaloose Hills trail|
|Columbia Desert Parsley|
I even spotted a patch of the rare purple Columbia Desert Parsley!
|Approaching Chatfield Hill|
Reaching the trail junction, this day I chose to head west and visit Chatfield Hill first.
|Blooming bonanza on Chatfield Hill|
It's a short climb through the woods to reach this lovely hillside. But once I left the woods, wow, was I in for a surprise! Balsamroot flowers blooming everywhere!
These sunny yellow blooms never fail to make me smile.
|Blooms in the woods|
It always takes me a long time to cover the half mile trail to the top of Chatfield Hill. I'm sure you can't imagine why.
|Love this lone tree on Chatfield Hill|
There's one lone tree rooted prominently on the slopes of Chatfield Hill. And every year I snap the same image of this tree standing above the sea of wildflowers.
|A bit of Indian Paintbrush adds color|
Higher on the slopes, I began to see a few orange Indian Paintbrush flowers adding their color to the wildflower mix.
Although the lupine bloom was just getting started I did notice a few nice specimens.
|Farmland and Mt Hood view from Chatfield Hill|
As I climbed higher, the valley below came into view. And a shadowy Mt Hood made an appearance.
|Columbia River view from Chatfield Hill|
On Chatfield Hill's summit are wonderful views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, and the Columbia River looking west. Half of the hill is on private property, and a barb wire fence with strongly worded signs affixed discourages trespassers.
|Mt Hood view from Marsh Hill|
After spending much happy time on Chatfield Hill, I descended, headed east at the trail junction and climbed up neighboring Marsh Hill. The balsamroot bloom wasn't quite as prolific as it's brother hill, but the views of Mt Hood were better.
|A good day for wildflowers!|
A good day for wildflower hunting! The Memaloose Hills seem to always deliver. Now to beat the rain home and download my memory card.