Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Our first stop was at the Quilomene Wildlife Refuge. I have never explored this area beyond the small patch we visited this day. The roads are usable only with a solid , high clearance 4WD vehicle. We climbed slope of this south facing canyon and slowly explored the plants along the way.
For me it is about appreciating the change of plants and their community in this small environment. The average plant community is dominated by rabbit brush , bitter brush and other sage plants. Hard woody and somewhat dangerous in a thorny way. Smaller plants and flowers often grow tucked inside, using shade and conserving evaporation.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
"Who wouldn't be a mountaineer! Up here all the worlds prizes seem nothing."
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread"
"In every walk with nature one receives more than one seeks."
"The power of imagination makes us infinite."
"Earth has no sorrow the Earth cannot heal."
"There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties.
We never know where we must go or what guides we are to get...
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thorp is located at exit 101 on I-90 just west of Ellensberg. Most people know it for the gigantic "fruit" stand. Surrounded by hay fields this is the place where the foothills meet the flats. From here one can strike out into the foothills leading up into the L.T. Murray Wildlife Management Area and the National Forest areas that lead up to the Cascades.
I love the area since the ecology is so dramatically different from my everyday world that if fells like I have gone someplace foreign even though I am well familiar with this backyard.
The canyon roads leading up to the L T Murray are often only walkable. Those with horses have great opportunity to get far up and in. If you have the right road you can often drive up but there can be wash outs and rock fall. These events actually help keep the area wild and clean.
In late June Desert Mariposa Lily are everywhere in the middle third of the trail. They are a beautiful surprise for anyone expecting a lifeless place. You all will have to wait for June to see pictures.
Sunday I arrived a bit later than I thought I would. Work took longer than I thought it would. I like to get to an area early for the best birds and to beat the heat. I don't know what I was thinking. I knew it would be warm so I brought a short sleeve shirt. I even remembered my water bottle and my car now has its required gallon water jug. so I always have refills.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Catherine Creek is located between the towns of Lyle and Bingen on the Columbia River. It is part of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
Driving east on Hwy 14 is a bit of an adventure. Once I got outside of Vancouver, I experienced the winds the Gorge is famous for. The two lane highway is full of bends and twists and very soon you start climbing to the Cascades. While the mountains are not as high here owing to the effect of the river upon the geology, higher mountains are very near and snow is present in many bare areas. Across the river you can see waterfall after waterfall. The drive from Portland to Hood River is famous for the number of waterfalls. Unlike the Washington side, the Oregon side of the river supports and Interstate which is fast level and an easy option for those in a hurry.
In a very short time you can tell you are in "eastern" Washington. Pine trees show up in the woods and balsamroot flowers dot the roadside. In Bingen the hills look nothing like one sees in western Washington.
I will say however, for the best flowers one should climb and ramble in the area across the road. There were many groups of folks present. Hikers and photographers. A group of students from an Oregon college and many people with dogs.