Usually when you hike the 2.6 miles that connects Wahkeena Falls to Angel’s Rest you can count on solitude and an almost hypnotic shift from deep shade to brilliant sunshine, that and the comfort of relatively flat terrain, a welcome relief after the 1.6 mile climb up the Wahkeena trail.

Old-Growth Forest

Tuesday, though, I was also greeted by an outburst of flowers, apparently caused by our unusually wet Spring and last winter’s snowpack. Most of the flowers were ones you would expect to see in early Spring.

My favorite would have to be this Tough-Leaved Iris, a flower I’d only seen once or twice before in my many hikes here.

Tough-Leaved Iris

But there was a huge variety of other flowers competing for the hiker’s attention, too many to show. Here’s a brilliant yellow flower that I can’t remember ever seeing before.

Yellow Flower

There were even more purple flowers, the most abundant being this variety of Penstemon,


followed closely by the Columbine,


and the far fewer Columbia Tiger Lilies were impossible to overlook.

Columbia Tiger Lily

Did I mention that I saw more Tough-Leaved Irises in this 2.6 miles than I’ve seen in my entire lifetime?

a bunch of Tough-Leaved Iris

On this day at least, the hike reminded me of the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon. At times the trail was obscured by the taller flowers, and I was forced to wade my way through flowers to keep going. If I still lived in Vancouver, I would be back up there today rather than sitting here looking into a computer screen.