|Right across the street from our RV park is a bald eagle nest.|
There seems to be one juvenile and we regularly see an adult as well.
This is approximately the midpoint of the Columbia River Gorge, the point where the trees and green start thinning out and summers golden grasses cover the hillsides. It turns out the Washington side is also known as the dry side due to its Southern exposure. So far we've spent a couple of days exploring some lovely trails just East of White Salmon.
Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail
The big reward on this hike is the Columbia River Gorge Views. In the spring the flowers are supposed to be incredible on these hillsides, we were too late for that. Our destination, the ancient cherry orchard, was kind of anticlimactic, but the views and pretty meadows along the trail were the true highlights of this hike.
There are three things to watch out for on this trail: poison oak, rattlesnakes and ticks. There is no way to get around the poison oak because it is thick along this trail. We wore long pants and were very careful and neither of us were affected...perhaps we are just not susceptible. We did not pick up any ticks, perhaps because we sprayed ourselves well with a Picaridin spray. Lastly, we did see a rattlesnake...Hans stepped right over it and I about had a heart attack when seconds later I saw it on the trail in front of me!
|Dramatic lava outcroppings rose above us.|
These meadows are full of flowers in April and May.
|Nearing the high point of the trail the views of the Columbia River Gorge were magnificent.|
This was a wonderful 5.8 mile loop hike. We climbed gently through a mix of grasslands, oak forests, towering basalt rock outcroppings, even saw a couple of tiny water features. The views up and down the Columbia River were spectacular and Mt Hood was visible in all her glory too. Plenty of unmarked intersections on this trail, you'll need to follow the linked instructions closely, making judgement calls along the way.
|The trail starts on an old highway that is now home for fallen boulders.|
|Towering columnar basalt formations made a dramatic backdrop along the trail.|
|A sternwheeler slowly makes its way East up the Columbia River.|
|As we ascended the trail Mt Hood was the prominent feature in our Western view.|
|Heading back to the truck we spotted this osprey pair hanging out on their nest.|
We learned that Hector and Brenda of Island Girl Walkabout fame were staying nearby so we arranged to meet them at Everybody's Brewing, the local brewpub in White Salmon, with a fabulous Mt Hood view from their patio. We had a great time getting to know them and learned they started fulltiming on the SAME DAY we did...what a weird coincidence! Looks like our paths will cross again in the next year too, yay!
|Good times with fellow full timers, Hector and Brenda.|
|It's hard to see Mt Hood in the photo above...this is your view from the patio...AWESOME!|