Hiking and Herping through Columbia County

Western Toad Anaxyrus boreas boreas columbia county oregon boreal toad

The humble toads hang on

When I ask residents about toads in Columbia County, they respond, “What toads? I didn’t think we had toads here.” And indeed, for 30 years I wasn’t sure whether or not toads were still present. But this summer, Matt and I verified that at least one population is still thriving in a hidden alcove inContinue reading “The humble toads hang on”

Pacific Yew western Taxus brevifolia northwest oregon columbia county

The Miraculous Pacific Yew

The Pacific Yew is my favorite tree. While the Yew’s appearance is understated compared to the towering conifers of our forests, its impact has been felt worldwide. Taxus brevifolia of the Yew family fills a unique niche here as an understory specialist. It is built to survive under the shadows of the douglas-firs, cedars, andContinue reading “The Miraculous Pacific Yew”

Mayfly Falls West Fork Carcus Creek apiary columbia county oregon

Introducing Mayfly Falls

Matt and I planned to hike to Lava Creek Falls, but in preparation Matt spent time looking for secret waterfalls on Google Earth. He located a potential unmarked falls on West Fork Carcus Creek and decided we should try to make a go at it on our way to Lava Creek. This June day endedContinue reading “Introducing Mayfly Falls”

rare endangered butterflies of oregon columbia county willamette valley coast range

Rare and extirpated butterflies of Northwest Oregon

Butterflies are often among the most endangered of insects. Some of their caterpillars can only survive on select host plants, so if their habitats are destroyed and the host plants disappear, the butterflies disappear as well. Of the 65 species of butterfly native to northwest Oregon, 15 are now rare or missing entirely. (“Extirpated” isContinue reading “Rare and extirpated butterflies of Northwest Oregon”


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