Catherine Creek – Wildflower Mecca

There are some iconic wildflower hikes in the Columbia Gorge and Catherine Creek is at the top of that list.  With its dry climate the wildflower season comes earlier to Catherine Creek.  It’s a great time to head east to the Old Highway 8 turnoff.

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Old Highway 8 between Bingen and Lyle, Washington.

In early Spring – the landscape on the dry side of the Gorge is greener than it will ever be – especially this year when we had a long wet and snowy winter.  There is a lot of anticipation for the wildflower season.

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Sunrise at Rowland Lake – near Catherine Creek.

The Catherine Creek area has several options for hikers – from easy and all access to more challenging and longer hikes up into the hills.  The view of the Columbia River cannot be beat no matter where you go.  Looking east you see the Rowena Gap and the town of Lyle. 

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Looking east from Catherine Creek.

But we are here for the wildflowers.  A couple of days ago the Camas were everywhere putting the rolling hills in a sea of purple.  Making the bees very happy!

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Bee works a Camas bloom.

And on this day – I found a rare albino Camas.  This flower really stood out amongst his purple kin. 

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Rare albino Camas flower.

I came early but soon the parking lot was full and I was joined by many others.  It’s fun to be able to see others out enjoying the early wildflowers.

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Ode to winter road tripping

img_0960It’s Friday in the Pacific NW and time to hit the road before the holiday rush gets too crazy. Winter travel is the perfect time to enjoy Oregon and Washington.  Less people, big waves at the coast, inland the wind swept trees create a moody landscape,  and everything has the watery glow that reflects our rainy disposition.

Don’t let winter weather keep you home bound.  Grab the coat, bundle up and put your face into the wind and enjoy the precious hours.  Is there any time better than now?

 

Being Creative

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I am hearing a lot (and reading about it too) – about how important creativity is to our mental well being and how it nourishes the soul.  I had not thought about creativity much because I kind of suck at being artistic. I have wickedly talented people in my family – my oldest brother is an amazing boat designer and builder (check out Brooks Boats), my mom is this renaissance woman – cellist, painter, creative gardener… (and that’s just the stuff I know about…if you know my mom this will make you smile) and my brother Phil is a super talented guitarist – he blows my mind with how he can make his 10 fingers all do something different yet together they create beautiful music.

I can shoot free throws with my eyes closed (yes they usually go in).  But I do love taking pictures.  All the pictures I have shared on this blog to date are mine.  Sometimes you are fortunate with location – Paris looks good no matter what.  But the picture above was taken on my porch.  With an iPhone.

I love that iPhones have allowed us to carry the possibility of creativeness with us every day.  I love Instagram and being inspired by the thousands of photographers out there and how we all see the world a little differently.

This Thursday I am attending Newspace Center for Photography’s inaugural Photo Jam – a combination of instagram, art gallery photo show and Top Chef like photo contest.  I can’t wait.  Let the creative in you shine!