Columbia National Wildlife Refuge

Last weekend Rick and I went to a place I’d never seen before, the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

The Drumheller Channels/Red Willows

The refuge is in the channeled scablands left by the Missoula Floods following the last ice age. It’s filled with softly colorful desert grass and brush, and it’s a wonderful place to hike around, climbing up the low bluffs to get views of lakes and creeks and sky.

Columbia Wildlife Refuge Hike

Three Lakes Seen from Rimrock

The rocks and sagebrush are covered with bright-colored lichens.

Close-up Sage

Lichens

Sage Branch Lichens

This is the time of year when rare Sandhill cranes migrate through the refuge, and we saw flocks of them and heard their zany, melancholy cries echoing around us, but the areas they frequent are off limits, so we had to photograph them at a distance. (You can click and zoom on all these photos to get a better look.)

Sandhill Cranes

The lower Crab Creek section of the refuge borders Sentinel Mountain. We noticed the faces before we saw the name of the place on the map.

Sentinal Mountain

One interesting thing about being there is the silence. Without any trees, the wind makes almost no sound. If you hold still you’ll hear nothing but birds singing.

Rick on Rimrock

Redwinged Blackbird

Trailhead to Marsh Unit 1

~ by lolarusa on April 4, 2019.

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