NATURE -- It's a colorful time to visit the Little Spokane River Natural Area. Lupine on the slopes and yellow iris along the river are blooming in profusion.
The lupine is native; the iris originated in upstream yard landscaping many, many years ago and flourished downstream crowding out a lot of native waterfowl habitat. But it's pretty.
Paddlers and hikers can enjoy the river or the trail from St. George's School downstream to SR 291 with mid-way access at Painted Rocks off Rutter Parkway. The area is managed by Riverside State Park; Washington Discover Pass required.
This is one of the few trails in the area where mountain bikes and dogs are prohibited.
For a spectacular 9-mile loop hike with the best high overlook views of the Little Spokane River, start from the Pained Rocks Trailhead, hike up past the privvy all the way to Knothead overlook then continue, taking the unmarked single track spur to the three overlooks, then back and down to the paved road near the SR 291 Trailhead. Then take a hard left on the trail that parallels the Little Spokane River to hike 1.7 miles back to the start at Painted Rocks. The route is well signed.
It was very quiet this morning, save for the racket of some pileated woodpeckers hammering at the dead trees from the fire two years ago, a few startled mule deer, a flushing covey of California quail, and some giggling children hiking with their parents. Pleasant disturbance.