Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spring in the Columbia Gorge

Rain, rain and more rain has been the theme here in the Northwest. Now that may not come as a surprise to many, but this year has been record setting. Although we don't have much in the way of thunder and lightning on the "west" side of the Cascades (three bolts of lightning is a big deal here) there has been a deluge or two.

All the rain has filled the creeks and rivers with scads of water, with no lack of water in the Gorge last weekend. I headed out a bit later in the day with hopes of storm clouds moving in towards evening (some came), and the landscape photographer's greatest desire; a colorful sunset.

All the rain prompted me to check out one of my faves, beautiful Elowah Falls and the trail beyond. After retrieving my forgotten glasses in the car, I noticed this beautiful Colombian Lily, suspended in mid-air on its stem, right along the trail. Had to sprawl down on the ground to see it properly. Got a few stares from passerbys.

Columbian Lily on the Elowah Falls Trail

Elowah Falls was humming. Lots of everything: noise, rushing water, spray, wind blasting at the base of the falls. First spent some time just absorbing the scene. Took a series of photos to create this composite at one of the usual but best spots. Creek raced by, spray came and went, lots of lens and camera swabbing. It was great.

Elowah Falls and McCord Creek

Now I needed to get over the bridge in front of the falls to continue on the trail. Looked like quite a bit of spray and wind. Donned my rain jacket, but thought I didn't need the rain pants. Not the right decision. It was a sideways cold monsoon on the bridge...soaked to the bone...

The trail was beautiful, covered at times by Salmonberry bushes on both sides. Clearings of heavily moss covered rocks below cliff faces. A nice group of Paintbrush.

Beautiful group of Paintbrush

Now for those storm clouds. Due to the jet stream taking direct aim on Oregon, things are moving through here quickly. Although it looked a bit threatening at times, it stayed dry. Except, of course for having to cross the bridge again by the falls on the way back. Put the rain pants on this time...

Storm clouds gather overhead