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TRIP REPORT:  Tom McCall Preserve Wildflower Hike
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TRIP REPORT: Tom McCall Preserve Wildflower Hike

TRIP REPORT: Tom McCall Preserve Wildflower Hike

- Wading through Wildflowers in the eastern Columbia Gorge-
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike McCall Preserve
The meadows and hillsides were alive with wildflower color.  Big yellow balsamroot bloomed along with the blues of lupine.  Higher up the hill, bright red paintbrush joined the fireworks display of wildflowers at Tom McCall Nature Preserve at Rowena Plateau.

Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike plateau views
It was a windy day, as can be expected in the Columbia River Gorge, so we were bundled up against the breeze, but the showery forecast yielded a partly cloudy sky that was mostly blue, and it turned out to be a beautiful day for hiking the eastern Gorge and soaking in the wildflowers and panoramic views of the river.
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Columbia River views
We meandered past the ponds on the lower plateau to cliff-top viewpoints, pausing for lunch in a swale protected from the wind.

Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike McCall Cliff tops

Balsamroot and lupine (both pictured) dominated the show, but many other flowers were seen blooming, including tarweed fiddleneck (pictured), yarrow, buckwheat, monkeyflower, and many other tiny white flowers.  Bi-colored cluster lily was another common sight with its clumps of blue-streaked white flowers (pictured).

Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Balsamroot flower   Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Lupine flowers
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Tarweed Fiddleneck   Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Bicolored cluster lily flower

Making our way over the upper plateau, we started climbing the upper trail.  The poison oak was easily avoided (and just about to bloom its tiny green flowers) and we saw no rattlesnakes on the rocks.

Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Columbia Gorge
We saw many more showy wildflowers.  The red indian paintbrush joined the lupine and the balsamroot for display of primary red, blue and yellow colors.
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike upper trail gorge views   Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike paintbrush lupine balsamroot

Winding between cool, shady groves of scrub oak and open, sunny meadows, pausing often to take in ever-expansive views of the Columbia River, we stopped at a cliffy viewpoint for a longer rest and a snack.  The eastern Columbia River Gorge stretched out to drier desert climes to the east. Layer-cake tiers of rugged basalt evidenced the powerful geological history of volcanism and ice-age floods that formed this scenic valley.
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike Mt Adams view

Mt. Adams, across the river in Washington, played hide and seek with us, showing its shoulders, but never the whole mountain at once.  (Mt. Hood kept hidden in the clouds.)

Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike McCall Preserve Columbia Gorge
The way back down was much easier than the steep climb up.  We waded through the wildflowers and then appreciated the sinuous curves of the Historic Columbia River Highway below the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
Driving through the Gorge on our way back to Portland, it rained on us, making clear how different the climate can be just a few miles away.
Next Adventure East Side Wildflower Hike McCall Preserve sunny day

Next Adventure Outdoor School has more exciting trips planned for you this summer in Northwest Oregon.

Join us on a day hike or an overnight backpack camping trip to the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood National Forest, or the Oregon Coast.

Here are some upcoming trips:

May 18       - Hike to Pup Creek Falls along the Clackamas River Trail
May 26-27 - Backpack and camp on the Oregon Coast
Jun  3-4      - Backpack and camp on Mt. Hood National Forest
Jun  25        - Hike the Riverside National Scenic Trail

Find out more at nextadventure.net/outdoor-school.

Plus we've got free classes, clinics and presentations at our Grand Store in Portland, including:

May 13      - Map and Compass Clinic
May 15      - Hammock Camping Class
Jun  10      - Backpacking Basics Clinic

Check out our events calendar at nextadventure.net/community/calendar for updates and more details.

SEE MORE WILDLIFE AND WILDFLOWER PHOTOS FROM TOM MCCALL IN THE 2013 TRIP REPORT BLOG.
_______________________________

Greg Hill is lead guide and program manager for Next Adventure Outdoor School.

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.

Lupine and balsamroot flowers Next Adventure Day Hike
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