Doggy Bombs at Catherine Creek January 27, 2007

Lyle, Klickitat County, WA: This morning I drove from Gresham to Heppner, starting at 0600 AM. The wind in the gorge was strong enough to move my Dodge diesel 4wd pickup that weighs in near 8, 000 pounds. Just past Hood River the sky went overcast and freezing fog was present the rest of the trip.

On the way home I crossed the Columbia River into Washington at The Dalles, planning to take a look at Catherine Creek, near Lyle WA. I was the 12th car in the parking lot and before I could unload my camera gear another car parked, its occupant quickly headed up the hill on the hiking trail.

It had been rumored that the first blooms of spring have been seen at Catherine Creek but I had no luck finding anything. It must be a popular place to bring the family pet judging by the number of doggy bombs along the trail. Apparently hikers here do not pick up after their dogs.

The wind was light but it was bitter cold. Exposed flesh turned numb within a few minutes. Snow was visible on the higher ground with snow sticking to the trees. Icicles were common wherever ground water was present and puddles were frozen over. It is still winter here.

When I returned to my vehicle a number of hikers were gathered in the parking lot. I would guess the day was used for hiking rather than searching for wildflowers.

byLarry

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Snow and Ice at Table Rocks January 25, 2007

When I travel to Southern Oregon and I’m in the vicinity of Medford I take some time to climb one of the Table Rocks… either Upper Table Rocks or Lower Table Rocks.  In season there are spectacular wildflower displays on these hills. On the way south on I-5, passing Canyonville, roadside snow gave me some warning of what was to come.

Today I headed for Upper Table Rock… no particular reason for the choice except to change the view.

At Upper Table Rock ambient air temperature was close to 50 degrees but snow lingered in the shadows. When wet the dirt around the parking lot is the stickiest stuff known to man… a few steps in this stuff and your feet begin to feel like you are walking with snowshoes.

About a hundred yards up the trail I turned back because the trail ahead was icy… and as elevation increased it would only get worse. I would need crampon traction devices to safely negotiate the trail.

I’ll be back when the snow is gone.

byLarry

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Warming Up January 23, 2007

Gresham OR:– Blue sky and sunshine. It is the second consecutive day since the new year with ambient air temperatures above 50 degrees. Snow and ice have melted except for in the deepest shadows. The infamous Columbia River Gorge wind is calm. The grass is showing more green and early spring flowers will soon be poking their shoots above ground. It is almost time to go afield looking for wildflowers.

What’s magic about 50 degrees? The chemistry of chlorophyll starts to work. Grass turns green, leaves turn green… spring is in the air.

byLarry

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Margaret’s coyote coat

coyote coat
Margaret with coyote coat

Photo by Jan Jackson

Margaret raises sheep… and this is a coat made of coyote pelts… sort of a reverse on a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

byLarry

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From Valerie Photo of the week

Montana doe and fawn

FawnA480
Picture by Valerie… September 2006

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