The forests of the Cascades are pretty different from ours out here in the arid east – I saw lots of hemlocks and cedars while at Mount Hood, which was a nice change of pace. I also made the acquaintance of some interesting understory plants. First, Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum):
Earlier in the season these shiny green leaves would have been complemented by clusters of big, showy pink flowers, but by this time of year all that remained of those was the developing fruits.
Second, ripe huckleberries of both the blue and red varieties – yum! These are two different species in the genus Vaccinium, which also includes blueberries and cranberries.
Nothing beats being able to stuff your face as you walk down a trail, amiright?