Dry-side Spring wildflowers are peaking in the east Gorge. Next Adventure Outdoor School was there last weekend to see the plateaus and hillsides covered in color. Balsam root and lupine flowers dominated the scene with fields of sunny-yellow and purple-blue.
Looking down at Horseshoe Falls near Siouxan Creek in Gifford Pinchot National Forest
With Spring just around the corner (it officially starts on March 20th!), it's time to start breaking in your hiking boots, dusting off your backpack, and planning those first few camping trips of the season. This last weekend I decided to take advantage of our unusally warm March and head out on my own 1-night backpacking trip. I chose Siouxan Creek because it was less than 60 miles from home, the trail was easy to moderate, and there wouldn't be any snow at the relatively low elevation. I also knew I wanted an out -and-back trail so that I wouldn't get to any uncrossable creeks that would leave me stranded, and I read in my hiking guide that there would be some nice campsites along the way.
We took in the wilderness views from the summit of Tumala Mountain. Mt. Hood's snowy peak jutted above the clouds. Mt. Jefferson and Cascade peaks to the south were lost in a white haze of wildfire smoke. Fire danger had closed the trails we had planned to hike in the Olallie Lake area just days before the start of our trip. Fortunately, we had the Tumala area for our 3 day mountain backpacking experience.
Higher elevation trails in the Cascades are clear of snow, and the sub-alpine parkland is ablaze with wildflowers. Summer has come to the mountains! Next Adventure Outdoor School hit the trail last week for another mountain backpack trip, hiking along Rho Ridge on Mt. Hood National Forest.
Ben Mayberry hiked 4250 miles across America last year, and now he's got his sights set on an even more epic adventure, and could use your help. Outside Magazine is holding a contest for an Outside Adventure Grant, and Ben is one of the finalists with his "Trekking the West" proposal. Check out his trip plan and help him win by visiting http://facebook.com/outsidemagazine and click on the "Outside Adventure Grant" application to vote.
Ben found the voting process a little difficult to find and navigate, so more instructions can be found in the caption of the cover photo at http://facebook.com/benjamin.o.mayberry
Voting runs until June 17th and anyone can vote once per day.
Snow covered the trail above 4000 feet, but we still summited and camped atop Tumala Mountain at 4775 feet above sea level. Most of the 5 mile trail was snow-free, and it was like going back in time to see early spring wildflowers - trillium, skunk cabbage, marsh marigolds,and even coltsfoot were blooming.