Mitchell Point trail 3/31/2018 (#13)
Mitchell Point is a steep promontory east of the burn area and west of Hood River on the Oregon side of the Columbia RIver Gorge. It has been closed since the fire last fall, but has recently reopened. We took this short, steep hike (3 miles/1300 feet) to both upper and lower points. Oaks toothwort, Oregon grape and red currant were blooming along the lower trail.
After crossing the rocky scree slope I found one trillium, my first of the season, in the upper wooded trail on the way up.
Hounds tongue and glacier lilies were blooming in the upper saddle and power line corridor.
At the top we enjoyed the steep hillside meadows full of gold stars, grass widows, prairie stars, yellow and white parsleys, slender phlox, blue eyed Mary, popcorn flower, filaree, and saxifrages.
The upper trail traverses the spine of the ridge, with great views in every direction along the Columbia River. We stopped for lunch on the rocky crest.
On the way down, I found two fairy slipper orchids in the upper wooded trail area where I remembered them being abundant the last time we were here in April of 2015.
We crossed the rocky scree field again.
We then took the spur trail to the lower point, and found another grassy and flowered meadow, and also some blooming larkspur and a good view of where we had been. We missed this trail the last time we were here.
In midApril of 2015, the tiny meadow flowers were past bloom, but the balsam root was in full flower. Since one can’t be everywhere at once, it is a joy to see each location in a different season of bloom.