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Cove State Park trail offers plenty of views, wildflowers and birdwatching for hikers.

SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - Dan Chamness, left, and Gary Clowers take in the view of the Lake Billy Chinook canyon.Wildflowers were blooming and the weather was perfect, with just enough clouds to keep hikers from overheating, during the Desert Trail Association's hike up the Tam-a-Lau Trail at Cove State Park on Saturday.

Led by Barbara Meyer, the hike was open to all, and included her husband Peter Meyer, Gary Clowers, Cesar Chavez, Ron and Susan Matheny, and Dan Chamness.

The 6.6-mile loop hike is somewhat steep going up, but once on top, is totally flat for the majority of the hike. Several birders in the group brought their binoculars to identify the many birds they spotted, which included an eagle, ravens, hawks, bluebirds, and swifts. Small lizards were also seen scampering among the rocks.

Yellow balsamroot, bright red Indian paintbrush, purple phlox and other wildflowers dotted the sage and juniper landscape, and the remnants of an old homestead was found. The east side of the loop, skirts basalt cliffs which tower above SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - Birdwatchers spotted many nesting birds.Lake Billy Chinook, with breathtaking views of the Crooked River and Deschutes River arms of the lake.

The next Desert Trail Association hikes will be May 12, to the Spring Basin Wilderness, near Clarno (4 miles), followed by a 1.2-mile hike at the John Day Fossil Beds. Contact Dan Chamness at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information. A hike on the Kah-Nee-Ta Trails will also be held in May, contact Gary Clowers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information.

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