Wayside Wildflowers LbNA # 24540
|Placed Date||Aug 1 2006|
These stamps are all of wildflowers to be found in the Pacific Northwest. The hikes are all two miles or less (unless otherwise noted.) A couple of these were hidden long before I got around to writing the clue; so long, in fact, that I had to go back and find them again to be sure I could remember the correct locations. Some require a Forest Pass or day use fee for parking.
•Monkey Flower (Mimulus cusickii)
to the trailhead: Go east on Larch Mountain Road for 11.6 miles. Pull over when you see a 20 MPH sign and a guardrail. Be sure not to block the gate on the left side of the road.
to the letterbox: Skirt around the gate and continue uphill to a trail junction. Downhill to the left will take you to another junction. Take a right. Cross the gentle stream that becomes mighty Multnomah Falls and go right again. When you meet with a grand old tree adorned with a fine array of bracket fungus, look behind the weathered segment of log to its left.
To continue your hike as a six mile loop, keep on this same trail going right at the next junction, right on Larch Mountain Road for .3 miles and then down the Larch Mountain Trail to the left of the picnic area. This will take you back to the first trail junction you met. Go left here back to your car.
•Harebell (Campanula scouleri)
to the trailhead: Take I84 east from Portland to exit 41/Eagle Creek. Park at the picnic area. Fee required.
to the letterbox: Can you take the suspense? Cross over to the gorgeous trail and head away from the Lox in the direction of the Village of the Dammed. You will come to a place where you need to make a choice: do you wanna view or do you wanna letterbox? If you choose the box, turn your back on the view. Walk to the first old growth fir on your left, the one with charred skin. The box is beneath a pair of rocks at its feet. Beware nearby poison oak.
•Orchid (Orchis rotundifolia)
to the trailhead: Coming from Hood River, take exit 47/Herman Creek and head for the campground and trailhead there. Coming from Portland take exit 44/Cascade Locks and drive two miles through town almost to the next freeway on ramp. Follow the signs to Oxbow Hatchery and the Herman Creek campground and trailhead. Park outside the gate if the campground is closed and walk in to the marked trailhead. In season, there are often trail maps available near the campground outhouse. Fee required.
to the letterbox: Follow the Herman Creek Trail and perk up your ears. You will hear the loud roar of the traffic flow at your back. Soon you will hear the overhead buzz of the electron flow. Next you will hear the rush of an aqueous flow on your right. When the vehicular roar reappears on your left, stop in the middle of the clearing. Continue seventy or so steps on the Herman Creek Trail to the boulder closest the trail. The box is to the left of this rock, camouflaged with a small rock and moss.
For a 8 mile hike to spectacular Indian Point, continue from the box to the next junction and take the Gorton Creek Trail. Go left here to the Ridge Cutoff Trail junction. Go fifty more yards on the Gorton Creek Trail to a small, steep unmarked trail on your left. This will take you to the point. You can retrace your path or return to your car on the Ridge Cutoff Trail to the (steep) Nick Eaton Trail. Go right here and then right again in two miles when you meet up with the Herman Creek Trail.
For an easy hike to the Herman Creek bridge, go back from the box the way you came turning downhill at the marked junction to the PCT. it’s only .4 miles to the bridge, a great spot to relax on the boulders by the side of the creek.
•Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)
Make your way to Oregon’s most visited natural attraction. Cross Benson Bridge and head up the trail. At the crossroads, turn your back on the view and continue to a Roman arch. About fifty steps beyond you will meet with another crossroad. This time turn your back on the path to perdition. Find the grand old tree at 65º magnetic. Just to its right is a knee-high mossy rock sheltering the box under its downhill side, beneath moss and stone.
To find this member of the sunflower family you will have to hike a bit over two miles round trip. Continuing beyond the letterbox another half mile or so will reward you with two more lovely natural wonders.