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Happy Trails

Friends of Gorge present series of spring wildflower hikes

Friends of the Columbia Gorge presents its Annual Spring Wildflower Hike Series to foster appreciation of the Columbia River Gorge and follow the breathtaking Gorge wildflower show through the season.

What to Bring: Daypack with lunch, water, rain gear, extra sweater, cap & gloves, insect repellent, first aid kit, and any personal items. No alcohol, drugs, and no fire arms. Please do not bring pets. Many hikers like to bring a copy of hike leader Russ Jolley's "Wildflowers of the Columbia Gorge" on the hikes.

What to Wear: Long sleeves, long pants, and sturdy hiking boots are strongly recommended.

Meeting places are listed with each hike.

All hikes are offered free to the public. Hike participants must be in good physical condition as all hikes are somewhat strenuous. Be prepared for changes in weather with extra clothing. Prior sign-up is not necessary. Hikes are not canceled because of rain. All participants accept responsibility for their own safety.

For more information, contact Friends of the Columbia Gorge at (503) 241-3762 or (541) 386-5268 or check the website at www.gorgefriends.org.

Spring Wildflower Hikes Calendar:

March 16 -- Memaloose Hills. Hiking enthusiasts and wildflower experts Sabine Dutoit and Nancy Russell will lead hikers on a Memaloose Hills ramble when Grass Widows are in full flower. Loop starts at Memaloose Rest Area, goes up the old Chatfield wagon road, climbs to a hilltop for river and mountain views, and continues eastward through wildflower meadows before descending to the east end of the rest area. The hike is five-six miles with an 800-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:30 a.m. Memaloose Rest Area.

March 23 -- Catherine Creek West, Labyrinth Route. Richard Getgen and Caroline Jenkins will lead hikers on a unique loop through volcanic rock formations and through wildflower meadows, providing views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood. The hike is seven miles with a 1300-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:15 a.m. at Rowland Lake.

March 30 - Lyle Cherry Orchard. Aubrey Russell and Friends' Board member Ken Denis will lead hikers up a series of steep benches above Lyle, gaining 1000 foot elevation in the first mile, then heading east across a windswept oak woodland plateau to an abandoned cherry orchard. Great wildflowers and river views all the way. The hike is five to six with a 1400-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:45 a.m. at unmarked trailhead parking lot (Hwy. 14, milepost 77.4, 12.2 miles east of Hood River Bridge).

April 6 -- Rowland Lake. Wildflower guide Ray Hayden and hike leader Elizabeth Magnus will again lead this hike just west of Catherine Creek. The loop north of Rowland Lake includes wildflowers, waterfalls, basalt cliffs, historic wagon roads, and panoramic Gorge views. The hike is seven miles with a 1300-ft. elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:30 a.m. at Rowland Lake public fishing access.

April 13 -- Return to Memaloose Hills. Wildflower experts Russ Jolley and Nancy Russell, along with Friends' Board member Rick Ray and Diana Karabut, will lead hikers to spectacular wildflower meadows in the hills above Memaloose Overlook. The hike is five to six miles with a 800 ft. elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:30 a.m. Memaloose Rest Area.

April 20 -- Seven Mile Hill. Wildflower expert Russ Jolley and Gorge enthusiasts Caroline and Ken Bailey will lead this hike to beautiful vistas up Seven Mile Hill. Expect to see balsam root and lupine in great numbers, as well as an abundance of other wildflowers. On a clear day, this hike has wonderful views. The hike is five miles with a 1200-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: 9:30 a.m. where the I-84 offramp Exit 82 meets the Historic Columbia River Scenic Highway 30.

April 27 -- Deschutes River Trail. Desert Trail Association member Ross Edginton will lead hikers to a high desert setting, loaded with wildflowers and sweeping views of two states, and three counties. Hike along the river after lunch and return about 3 p.m. The hike is eight miles with a 800-ft. elevation gain and four cattle stiles to negotiate. Meeting place: 9:45 a.m. at Deschutes Crossing State Park.

May 4 -- High Valley Exploratory. Hike with Mazamas hike leader Roy Stout and Trails Club member Heather Rosenwinkel through a hidden valley to two great viewpoints on the Washington side of the Gorge. Plenty of wildflowers and open meadows. A sense of adventure required! Pack enough water, but only a light lunch needed. Leaders will bring a snack for mid-day at High Valley. The hike six miles with a 2000-ft. elevation gain. Meeting place: 8:30 a.m. at Pendleton Woolen Mills, Washougal.

May 11 -- Rowena Crest Area Exploration. Wildflower expert Barbara Robinson and Friends' supporter Diana Karabut will explore some of the public land in the vicinity of McCall Point and the western part of SevenMile Hill. This hike should have an outstanding wildflower show of lupine, balsamroot, and many others. The hike is seven miles with a 1000-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: Rowena Crest Overlook on the Old Scenic Highway (Hwy. 30), 7 miles east of Mosier.

May 18 -- Neskia Lodge. Enjoy a moderately strenuous hike up the Larch Mountain Trail with Trails Club hikers Lisa Brice and Heather Rosenwinkel. The trail leads past picturesque waterfalls waterfalls and abundant wildflowers to a spectacular view of the Gorge. The hike is eight miles with a 2000-ft. elevation gain. Meeting place: 8:45 a.m. at Multnomah Falls Lodge.

May 25 -- Hamilton Mountain Loop. Join Tim Hibbits and Aubrey Russell in a spectacular wildflower hike past Rodney and Hardy Falls to the summit of Hamilton Mountain, along the summit ridge, then down Hardy Creek. The hike is eight miles w/2400-ft elevation gain. Meeting place: 9 a.m. at Trailhead at Beacon Rock State Park.

June 1 -- Angels Rest-Wahkeena via Fox Glove Way. Follow Friends' Board member Ken Denis and Gorge hiking enthusiasts Ken and Caroline Bailey as they ascend first to Angels Rest for a break and views. Then travel east via Fox Glove Way Trail and descend along the beautiful cascades of Wahkeena Creek. Wildflower shows, grand views, waterfalls, and a look at how the area is recovering from the falls fire of 1991. The hike is seven miles with a 1650-ft. elevation gain. Meeting place: 8:30 a.m. at the new Angels Rest Trailhead.

June 8 -- Dog Mountain Loop. Mazama's Richard Getgen will lead us on a steep trail to the summit of Dog Mountain. A blanket of yellow balsamroot and a great view at lunch make it worth the effort to reach the summit. The hike is 7.5 miles w/2900-ft. elevation gain. Trailhead parking pass required. Meeting place: 9 a.m. at Dog Mtn. Trailhead.

June 15 and 16 -- 22nd Annual Gorge Hiking Weekend.

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