Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About Appeal tribune. (Silverton, Or.) 1999-current | View Entire Issue (June 23, 2021)
| WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2021 | 1B
Threatened silverspot butterflies can be seen on Saddle Mountain in the Oregon Coast Range. See the chrome or silver spots on the butterfly on the left.
US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
Saddle Mountain hike has a lot to see
from the Paciﬁc Ocean to Cascade volcanoes
Zach Urness Salem Statesman Journal | USA TODAY NETWORK
addle Mountain is a hike that showcases
Western Oregon on a grand scale. h The
tallest peak in the northern Coast Range
surveys the Paciﬁc Ocean, Cascade vol-
canoes and Columbia River — three of the largest
natural wonders in the state. h But the real magic
of Saddle is in the smaller things. This chunk of an-
cient basalt oﬀers habitat for two rare wildﬂowers
and has become a refuge for a threatened butterﬂy
species that can only live in a few places in Oregon.
h In other words, there’s a lot to see on a hike that
runs 4 to 4.5 miles round-trip and climbs 1,620 to
1,700 feet (depending on whether you take spur
trails to additional viewpoints). The best time to
visit is May and June, when the wildﬂowers are
popping. h It’s not an easy hike, with plenty of
steep and slick spots, but it’s doable for anyone in
good shape. Located about 80 minutes from Port-
land — or two hours from Salem — the trailhead
does ﬁll up on weekends, but if you arrive early
enough, you can have the mountain to yourself.
Rare wildflowers give life to rare butterflies
In May and June, wildﬂowers bloom in the meadows of
Saddle Mountain, blazing with purple larkspur, pink phlox,
red paintbrush and blue aster.
But it’s two rare wildﬂowers — the Saddle Mountain bit-
tercress and early blue violet — that are found few other
places on earth.
The rare wildﬂowers make life possible for the silverspot
butterﬂy, which has been on the Endangered Species list
since 1980 but is ﬁnding a new home on Saddle Mountain.
Hikers can keep an eye out for them as part of a citizen sci-
ence project, biologists said.
See HIKE, Page 2B
I scraped the radiator grill and, voila, science project
Since professor Dave shuﬄed oﬀ this
mortal coil a long time ago, the truth at
last can be told.
By way of the back story and ancient
history, I had this high-school biology
term project. The assignment was to do a
bug collection to present in class.
We had more than a month to prepare,
but being something -- OK everything --
of a procrastinator, I waited until the
weekend before it was due to start.
That Saturday, we went to visit Dave
Williams, a Geology teacher and col-
league of my dad, who taught Physics at
the same community college.
By a stroke of luck on Dave’s part and
what I thought was a stroke of genius on
mine, the white International Harvester
Travelall in his driveway had just returned
from a geology ﬁeld trip to the California
With the windshield and radiator en-
crusted with all manner of insecta, some
of them presentably intact.
A half-hour of picking through the de-
tritus produced a wide swath of subjects
for the term project from beetles and
moths to assorted bees and other bugs.
The crown jewel among the lot and ul-
timate exhibit centerpiece was an ex-
traordinarily intact – minus a leg or two –
This being decades before the internet,
Sunday was spent looking through my
textbook, several assorted references
common to a science-loving teen, and the
See MILLER, Page 2B
The center piece of a high school biology term project was a road-killed
dragonfly similar to this beauty, but missing a couple legs. HENRY MILLER / SPECIAL TO
THE STATESMAN JOURNAL