Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah County, OR

May 25, 2007: Gresham, OR: It is Friday. With the upcoming holiday weekend accompanied by its flock of tourists it seemed like a good day to check the Columbia River Gorge for wildflowers. I started at Troutdale, following old highway 30 past the Vista House on Crown Point and then stopping at pull-outs to check for blooms. The parking lot at Bridal Veil Falls was full so I kept going. Multnomah Falls is always busy and you have to watch the crazy pedestrians carefully because they will walk right out into the highway without paying attention to traffic. (Why does a pedestrian cross the road?)

I returned to I-84 at the John Yeon State Park, crossed over the Columbia on the Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks then followed highway 14 along the Washington shore.

I was amazed at the number of cars parked at the Dog Mountain trailhead… there were two full lanes, probably 50 cars, in the parking lot.

Catherine Creek was dry… not much going on there but I did find one “Small Flowered Godetia” (Clarkia purpurea spp quadrivulnera).

Clarkia quadrivulnera
Small flowered Godetia (Clarkia quadrivulnera) Catherine Creek 5/27/2007

As I drove by the cliffs upriver a few miles west of the intersection with 197 a flash of color caught my eye. It turned out to be Penstemon richardsonii. I was fascinated with the wasps pollinating the flower. They weren’t honeybees and I was thankful that they weren’t aggressive.

Honey wasp
(Pseudomasaris ) Honey Wasp Penstemon richardsonii bee 5/25/2007

I took the Dalles Mountain road (just east of the intersection with 197), and drove to the top of the hill. The biscuit root (Eriogonum sp.) is in bloom… it doesn’t have a pleasant smell, reminds me of dirty socks. There were butterflies aplenty, the little iridescent blue ones.

The daylight began to fade so I crossed back into Oregon on The Dalles Bridge and returned home on I-84.


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