Thursday, March 21, 2013

Catherine Creek

Catherine Creek was on my list of places to visit in early spring, because it is famous for its wildflower displays.  Jasper's birthday was warm and sunny, so we headed there and found a place truly worthy of  a pilgrimage.  This area has many open meadows, and an easy climb took us to the top of a ridge with dramatic views of the Gorge.  The wildflowers really were  lovely, and more will be blooming later in the season that will make this a prime destination for months to come.  There is even a paved trail here which should be wheelchair accessible. We found enough people there on a weekday to make us feel in good company without feeling crowded, but I suspect on weekends it would be best to get there as early as possible.  We took the Catherine Creek West Loop Hike via the directions on Portland Hiker's Guide, and took their advice about stopping to eat lunch at the top of the ridge.  They said we might see hawks hunting for their own lunch, and we did!  We also took the time to look in Catherine Creek itself and found several beautiful Pacific chorus frogs. The shallow creek looked like excellent habitat for amphibians, so when we are next there I hope to spend more time to look for salamanders.

Grass widows.
Prairie star.
Blue-eyed Mary.
Mayfly larvae. Photo by Jasper.
Red-tailed hawk.
Desert parsley.
Prairie star.
Columbia desert parsley.
Western blood-red ladybird beetle.
Oregon junco.
Western white pine.
Yellow bells.
Pacific chorus frog.

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