FT 3 - Natural History of the Columbia River Gorge: Day Hiking Organized By the Natural History Section

Saturday, August 5, 2017: 8:00 AM-5:45 PM
M.L. King Jr. Lobby, Oregon Convention Center
Karen M. Reagan, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Sarah T. Bois, Linda Loring Nature Foundation; John Thompson, Catskill Center for Conservation and Development; and Joseph Arnett, Washington Department of Natural Resources
The Natural History Section invites you to join us for an exploration of the Columbia River Gorge, one of the nation’s National Scenic Areas and wonderland of waterfalls and scenic vistas. Hosted by Natural History Section Chair, Sarah Bois, and Rare Species Botanist, Joe Arnett, expect to savor each walk as we progress along the gorge. Driving east from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge provides a unique perspective on the geologic history of the region. Ancient volcanic activity resulted in layer upon layer of lava that built up over time only to be laid bare after the breech of the Missoula ice dam. The repeated flooding events that followed the melt of the Laurentide ice sheet left their mark on the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, resulting in a dramatic views and fantastic scenery. We invite you to take a trip with us back through time. Our day trip will involve three short hikes to a variety of features the gorge has to offer; from an iconic waterfall and rock formations, to unique native plant communities against the backdrop of grand vistas. The trip will include several hours of driving interspersed with three hikes along the way. While none of these hikes are considered strenuous, expect to be off the bus walking and exposed to the elements for at least four hours of the trip. 

NOTE: There will be some winding roads taken on this trip. If you are prone to motion sickness, please take this into consideration.

Registration Fee: $125

Equipment and Attire: August in the Pacific Northwest can be hot and this field trip includes multiple hikes to beautiful, but exposed landscapes. Pack clothing to protect you from the late summer elements (e.g., brimmed hat, a long-sleeved collared shirt, etc.), your water bottle, and your sunscreen. Alternately, August may bring fall rain, so having a light raincoat with you may be good. It is often very windy in the gorge, so a scarf to protect your ears can come in handy. While none of the hikes on this trip are considered strenuous, the trails may be rough or have uneven sections. Good walking shoes or light hiking boots will ensure your comfort when not on the bus. In short, be prepared for exposure to sun, rain, and/or wind during this field trip... and bring your camera!

7:30 am Check in
8:00 am Depart Portland Convention Center
8:30 am Vista House. Our first brief stop will be at Vista House, which provides a territorial view of the Columbia River Gorge. (10 minutes)
8:50 am Latourell Falls Loop (2.5 miles, 520 ft elevation gain)
10:15 Depart Latourell Falls
11:30 Arrive Catherine Creek Universal Access Loop (1.4 miles 50 ft elevation gain)
12:00 Lunch break at Catherine Creek
1:15 pm Depart Catherine Creek
1:45 pm Arrive Columbia Hills State Park, Horse Thief Butte (1.5 miles, 150 ft elevation gain)
2:45 Depart Horse Thief Butte
3:30 Arrive Rowena Plateau Loop
4:45 pm Depart Rowena Plateau
13. 5:45 pm Arrive Portland Convention Center

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