With a rare weekend off from a long workout (our run was over in 1 hour!), we left Portland yesterday afternoon and headed to the Gorge. Originally we considered hiking Dog Mountain, but postponed that hike for another weekend when we could leave Portland in the morning. Instead, we did three separate hikes, all under the umbrella of Catherine Creek.
Catherine Creek is on the Washington side of the Columbia Gorge, diagonally across from Hood River. With near constant winds and dry temperatures throughout the summer, the landscape is a study in contasts, with the windswept dry grasses framed against the blues of the Columbia. We made this hike a priority because of the area's amazing wildflowers that bloom between March and June. Along with a paved walk through these wildflowers, we also hiked up Catherine Creek's upper canyon and then over to a series of lava rock pits that American Indians historically used on spirit quests.