Has this wacky warm winter stricken you with early onset spring fever? Yellowstone's bears are emerging from hibernation, California saw its first wildfire of the season, and closer to home Oregon's wild-flowers are starting to show their pretty little heads.
Big Summit Prairie
Located in the Ochoco National Forest, roughly 40 miles east of Prineville, this area is home to literally hundreds of different species of native flowers. Among the showiest of the flowers found here are my personal favorites: dark-throated shooting stars, arrow leaf balsamroot, and rocky mountain sunflowers. While it's too early for sunflowers, the shooting stars, balsamroot and others may well be stirring from their winter slumber. This area is also home to deer, pronghorn, and bald eagles, so even if you strike out on the flower front there is bound to be something to look at. Contact the Ochoco National Forest ranger station for maps and current conditions.
Despite sitting at 5,600 feet, this peak 30 miles to the northwest of Prineville has already produced confirmed wildflower sightings. The Native Plant Society of Oregon posted photos of sagebrush buttercups in full bloom in the last few days. Grizzly Mountain is also a good place to spot bitterroot blooms further along in the season. The Cascades views from here are spectacular year round, as is the birding. From Prineville, drive 8.8 miles north on Hwy 26 and turn east on Grizzly Mountain Road. The distance to the top is roughly 3.5 miles and is passable by passenger car when dry.
Have you spotted any pretty little things in your recent hikes? Feel free to share them with the Source via on our Facebook or Twitter, or send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.