TREK: In Search of Spring Wildflowers (Photo Essay)
Spring is a busy time for plant lovers: gardens are opened, yardwork begins and spring wildflowers are popping up after winter's rest.
My region had a long cold, snow-filled winter and spring has barely made an appearance. As a protected National Scenic Area, the Columbia River Gorge is known for its plant diversity because of the varied ecosystems and elevations. It is easy to fill your spring weekends with hikes to see a wide range of wildflowers in an array of terrains.
Except for this spring. We are still wearing winter hats, fingerless gloves and fleece jackets. Our local chapters for the Oregon and Washington Native Plant Societies have canceled most regional hikes because the blooms are late to the party. But I managed to find some spring wildflowers, called ephemerals because of their short-lived presence, on the few sunny & warm days we have had.
Mushroom hunting on a sunny Saturday in the Ponderosa Pine forests of the Blue Mountains of NE Oregon was not successful but I was secretly thrilled to find several species of wildflowers.