4. Rainy Weekend: Rainbow, Bitterroot and more Balsamroot

Starvation Ridge          May 12, 2017          (# 24 )

Lots of rain in Portland this weekend.  Friday we decided to try the Starvation Ridge loop near Hood River (50% chance of rain).  Two cars in the parking lot, but no actual raindrops.  Clouds were looming just above the top of Dog Mountain directly across the Columbia River.  The loop is about 3 miles, and the Oregon Hikers trail guide recommends a clockwise loop as the first uphill section is really steep but would be more difficult going down.  We completely agree with their assessment – also there were a couple of washouts on this part of the trail that would be harder down hill.  The trail switchbacks along the ridge and crosses under the power lines.  There are open meadows in places that were full of wildflowers.  We also had drizzle or rain about 50% of the time, but as we were standing on one of the high overlooks, the sun came out behind us, creating a rainbow below us over the river.  We did have to scoot across one stream crossing on a log on our backsides. We enjoyed the hike, and we had the trail entirely to ourselves.  (3 miles, 1100 feet )  We finished the Starvation hike around lunchtime, and ate our lunch while reading the signage about the train that was stuck in the snow here for three weeks in December, 1884, though noone actually starved.


Starvation story


First overlook, east toward the trailhead, with phlox


Rainbow below us, toward Wind Mountain


Dog Mountain, across the Columbia River


Rainy meadow

Bitterroot at Catherine Creek     May 12, 2017

After lunch we crossed over the Hood River Bridge to Catherine Creek as we had seen reports that the bitterroot were blooming.  Yes!  The meadows are starting to look dry, but the rocky balds are sprinkled with clumps of blooms, with more to come.  We wandered up to the vernal ponds area above the road and could see bitterroot bloom far and wide.  The ponds are dried up, but filled with swathes of purple camas and monkey flower.  Buckwheat are starting to bloom, and a few white death camas remain in the shady areas.




Near the parking area


Vernal Pools filled with camas



Catherine Creek arch


East view – Columbia River


West view- Columbia River


Looking back at the vernal pools

Weldon Wagon Road      May 14, 2017   (# 25)

Mothers Day – Once again going east out of the rain, we decided to walk this trail above Husum, Washington. We went with our son, and some friends with their dog. We had been once several years ago, in April, and I remember enjoying walking through the oak woodlands that reminded me of the California hills of my youth.  We were pleasantly surprised to see that in May, the open slopes in the upper part of the trail are covered in balsam root flowers with lupine, buckwheat, and various parsleys. We could only see the very lowest part of Mt. Hood below the rain clouds, but we did not get any rain, and had a very pleasant hike (5.5 miles, 1300′).



Trail cutting through upper slopes – balsam root in bloom


The lower shoulders of Mt. Hood ahead



Columbia desert parsley in the ravine

One thought on “4. Rainy Weekend: Rainbow, Bitterroot and more Balsamroot

  1. Pingback: Starvation Creek again (18-22) | Margaret Quilts

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