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.
Spring has sprung, and wildflowers are blooming. I popped out for a quick "urban" hike with friend Jonathan and and his pooch, Jake, on April Fools Day. We drove to a northern trailhead of Forest Park, and hiked a loop along the Maple Trail and Lief Erickson Drive. We enjoyed a beautiful day, strolling through the fresh green spring growth and seeing the first flowers of the season. The trail can be popular, but we only saw six other humans and two dogs. It only lasted a few hours, but it felt like a world away. You'd never guess that such wildness could be found so close to the city.
Below are photos of some of the flowers we encountered.
Contact Next Adventure Outdoor School if you'd like to learn more about wildflower identification.
If you've seen "Portlandia" or the like and believe the hype, you'd think everyone in Portland rides a bicycle and that there's a coffee shop on every corner. It's simply not true. In fact, I know of at least five non-cyclists, and there can actually be up to three blocks between java joints. So, sure, it may look ideal on television, but we've got real problems here just like everyone does everywhere else.
For instance, about this time each year, folks in the Pacific Northwest are faced with a real dilemma. There's still plenty of snow in the mountains, but the spring wildflowers are starting to bloom down in the valleys.
It's a tough decision: Go skiing or take a hike?
Three feet of snow fell in three days as a winter storm gripped Mt. Hood this past week. Freezing temperatures, howling winds, and white-out conditions prevailed, but most of the time I was snug, warm and comfortable in a snow cave.
Snow flurries drifted down from the low clouds, fresh powder dusting the winter landscape. White-frosted firs bowed down laden with heavy snow. We found several inches of snow on the ground at around 3200 feet on Mt. Hood National Forest. Deep enough to ski! Contouring up the road, we saw several others on the multi-use road, but mostly we were alone in the forest stillness. By the time we reached our turnaround at 3800 feet, we were skiing on over a foot of snow, and more was still falling.
Here comes the snow! Higher elevations are getting accumulations deep enough to ski. So far, it looks like the resorts are on track to open by Thanksgiving. Timberline is reporting a 16 inch base with 8 inches of new snow. Andrew, Troy, Jo and I returned to Timberline Lodge this week to make our first turns of the season. They skied Alpine Touring gear and I was solo on my back-country Nordic skis.