17 April 2016

The Hills Are Alive

…With a million flowers.

Because of a cancellation, I was called last minute to be a student coordinator for the College Outdoors ethnobotany hike this Saturday. Since I am interested in edible plants and one of my good friends here was going on the hike I promptly agreed and signed up for the trip.

I arrived at Sequoia, the gear warehouse, at 7am Saturday and the leaders and I started packing the van for the trip.  The participants arrived at about 7:30 and we all ate breakfast before heading off.  Our first stop was Starvation Creek State Park. (What could be a better place to start an edible plants hike?)  After a waterfall, miner’s lettuce, and a story (see below) we headed onward to Memaloose State Park.

Starvation Creek got its name from a train accident in 1884.  On December 18, the Pacific Express ran into a 25-foot-tall snowdrift.  No one was injured, but the train was stuck.  The passengers were paid $3 a day to help shovel snow and everyone was fed with food that was being shipped on the train.  On January 7th, 1885 the train finally arrived in Portland. While newspapers had reported otherwise, no one actually died during their adventure at starvation creek.

Memaloose was amazing.  We followed a trail through fields, spotting many different types of wildflowers, until we arrived at a hill completely coated in balsamroot flowers (a relative of the sunflower). We hiked up to the lookout at the top of the hill and had lunch there while admiring the field of flowers and the snow covered peaks or Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.  It was a fantastic way to spend a day.

Please feel free to send me an email at ameliaberle@lclark.edu if you have any questions.