Balsamroot, Bitterroot, and a Birthday

May 2, 2019 Dalles Mountain Ranch, WA

On a very windy double birthday, we followed the lure of the wildflowers to Dalles Mountain Ranch, Columbia Hills State Park, WA. We hiked the Middle Loop, from the Ranch, downhill and then back up again, over rolling slopes and across streams. Balsam root, biscuit root, lupine, and filaree painted  gold, yellow, purple and pink highlights on the hills, and neither words nor pictures can really describe the beauty! But I try…

DSC03676

We started from the ranch trailhead, Mt Hood in the distance.

dsc03828.jpg

Down the balsmroot and lupine filled slopes.

DSC03681

As the trail winds down, the view changes from Mt Hood

DSC03690

to the Columbia Hills.

DSC03703

The Columbia River comes into view,

DSC03707

and so many flowers!

DSC03713

Under oak trees,

DSC03720

Down hill, closer to the river.

DSC03724

Stream crossing,

DSC03728

DSC03735

Puffy mounds of phlox,

DSC03747DSC03748

DSC03768

A patch of death camas

DSC03774

DSC03790

Another stream crossing,

DSC03803DSC03815

DSC03827

Back up the last slope to the trail head.

A few less common flowers seen today:

Later, the same day – camas lilies and bitterroot!

On our way home, we took a short hike at Catherine Creek where the open slopes are already beginning to dry out.

DSC03831I was hoping to see swales of blue camas lilies in the vernal pools, and we found them!

DSC03832

Blue camas lilies growing where the vernal pools are drying up.

dsc03849.jpg

A few white camas in with the blue camas lilies.

A bonus was finding the first blooming bitterroots of the year! We completely missed them last year when we were in Cornwall, so I took extra pictures to make up for it.

DSC03835DSC03839DSC03846

The large pink flowers are so delicately beautiful, and yet grow out of tough black lava outcrops.

DSC03845

Bitterroot blooming on the rocky foreground, camas lilies and buttercups beyond.

This was hike #21 for 2019, about 6 miles, 600 feet overall, but a million in flowers.

Even later, birthday cake and new socks

I made the requested traditional chocolate cake. After dinner out at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, Brian blew out XXVI candles.

DSC03853

Dan will blowout his LXV candles on Sunday when he has his party. Both had ‘medical insurance significant’ birthdays this year. Brian was wore his new socks the next day while watching the Portland Trailblazers squeak out a win over Denver in quadruple overtime! I don’t think there is any adrenaline left in town.

DSC00005

I finished these just in time for Brian’s birthday!

Meanwhile in the garden….

Dogwood trees are blooming all over town in glorious pink, salmon and cream colors. And in our yard:

DSC03647

Only one of twelve camas bulbs bloomed.

DSC03650

Chinese fringe flower and phlox still going strong

DSC03649

Iris

One thought on “Balsamroot, Bitterroot, and a Birthday

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s