Oregon Wildflowers, Late Spring

Mosier Plateau, Columbia Gorge

May 27, 2023

  • Photography

Spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest is a constant parade of color — if you’re willing to go to see it. Kristi and I headed to the Mosier Plateau in the Columbia Gorge this weekend.

I shot most of these with my 27mm f1.4 Viltrox lens. It lacks the close range of a macro lens. It was also insanely windy, blowing our hats off repeatedly on the crest of the ridge. That makes sharp photos of furiously waving flowers a bit difficult. But we had a great walk on a perfect late Spring day.

California Poppies
Oregon Wildflowers, Late Spring

Fields of electric blue

Batchelor’s Buttons covered the hillsides as we hiked up the switchbacks to the top of the plateau. The blue-purple shades are electric, like a Van Gogh painting.

Some like Western Yarrows seemed to cluster in different colors, in this case yellow or white.

Wildflowers Beyond the Gorge

Valley floor

Lower down in the Willammette Valley, the rhododendrons are exploding in a wide variety of colors. Mountain Bluet (which I have heard called “pineapple plant” locally, or at least by my mother-in-law) shows up on trails and yards everywhere. We recently planted a dogwood in our backyard, which had the most beautiful blossoms last week. This photo is from my in-law’s place, where I’ve shot many other beautiful native species.

Mt. Rainier from Tolmie Peak Trail, WA

Mt. Rainier from Tolmie Peak Trail, WA, July 2017. It was a bit late to see bear-grass, but still a striking scene.

A different kind of hike

I’ve wanted to do more outings specifically to tour the incredible wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. It gives us a reason to go to places we haven’t seen yet, and changes the nature and tempo of our hikes: stopping and examining things along the way is the point. Looking closer at the things all around us is good for you.

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