Getting carried away about the firm, fast quality of our local singletrack trail system this spring is easy if you're an avid mountain bike rider. But as many people are discovering, being able to go fast and dust-free is but one of the benefits of all this rain. The other benefit, if you slow down and pay attention while riding, is the incredible wildflower display.
Never is my over three decades of living here have there been such a wildflower display. A ride at the Maston Allotment for example has turned from a roll through a somewhat blah landscape filled with junipers to one through trailside swaths of yellow flowers, brilliant small red and purple flowers, bunches of tiny white flowers and clumps of daisies.
By my less than expert identification, a Maston ride this past Saturday yielded asters, desert parsley, larkspur, buckwheat, golden gilia, western grounsel, cushion daisy and lupine.
A few of these identifications may be incorrect. It would have been nice to have had Dr. Stu Garrett from the Oregon Native Plant Society along on the ride to make the proper identifications.
Whatever the wild flowers are they've flourished because of the rains. Along the Maston Loop, on the Gray Butte trails and out at Horse Ridge there are places where the wildflowers are breathtaking. Not in the high Cascades pastures of plenty sense but in a more understated high desert version of small splashes of color brightening the muted landscape.
Ride abit more slowly and take in what might be a once in a lifetime high desert spring wildflower display.