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TRIP REPORT: Pup Creek Falls Spring Hike

TRIP REPORT: Pup Creek Falls Spring Hike

Morning rains brought a beautiful sun day for hiking along Mt. Hood's Clackamas River this past Saturday.  We set out to see the hidden gem of Pup Creek Falls, but found many more wonders of the Northwest along the trail.


Wildflowers were going ga-ga. We saw over 30 different flowers blooming.  One of the most spectacular was the rare  Clackamas Iris (Iris tenuis).  Looking superficially like an Oregon Iris (I. tenax), the Clackamas Iris is smaller, clumpier and has white petals instead of blue.

Iris tenax

thimbleberry flowers by trail

Columbine flowers blazed red in a field of snowy-white alum root. White thimbleberry flowers were thick by the trail in places.  Few salmonberry blooms remained, but salmonberries were ripening.   Bleeding heart, fringecup, foam flower, inside-out flower, roses and rhododendron were blooming in the woods, Out on the open, exposed hillsides (remnants of a 2003 burn), stonecrops blazed golden, accompanied by bright red paintbrush and purple penstemon.

Wildlife found us, too.  A red-headed woodpecker met us at the trailhead, and the spiraling sound of the Swainson's thrush lilted through the air.  Snails, slugs, newts and millipedes crawled on the trail, and we surprised a merganzer when we stepped out on a beach.  

stonecrop paintbrush flower

Of human animals, we saw more paddlers in blue rafts and multi-colored kayaks float past us on the river than other hikers on the trail.  We even witnessed the drama of one kayaker taking a swim and then getting back in his boat.

Clackamas River kayakers

Pup Creek Falls was as amazing as ever.  We sat by the creek in the cavernous basin carved out by the falls, dark basalt covered with Spring green and yellow lichen, and contemplated the thundering waterfall, the old growth trees, wildflowers and wildlife we had encountered along the Clackamas River Trail.

Next Adventure Outdoor School has more trips planned this summer.  If you're hankering to get deeper into Northwest nature, we have multi-day backpacking trips and dayhikes for all ability levels.

Check out nextadventure.net/community for trip listings and online sign-up.
Email outdoorschool@nextadventure.net if you have any questions.

Next Adventure is a fully-insured licensed Outfitter and Guide with the State of Oregon. Next Adventure is an equal opportunity Recreation Provider operating under special use permit on the Mt. Hood National Forest and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, USDA Forest Service.
Next Adventure Guide-Instructors are locally trail-experienced, and carry current Wilderness First Response certification.


Flowers Blooming 6/2/2012:
Oregon Iris
Cow Parsnip
Large-leaved Avens
Bleeding Heart
Piggy-back plant
Columbia Windflower anemone
Foam flower
Salmonberry (& ripe fruit, too)
Blackberry / bramble
Solomon's Plume
Littleleaf montia
Goat's beard
Ocean Spray
Rosy plectritis
Fringe cup
Sitka Valerian
Little Buttercup
Inside-Out Flower
Miner's Lettuce
Blue-eyed Mary

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