I went searching for birding opportunities yesterday afternoon and discovered this gem of a trail, lined with fungi and ferns, literally minutes away from my home in Salemtowne. Spring Valley is managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department as an access point on the Willamette River Greenway. But what caught my attention was this obscure trail that appears to be receiving attention and improvements by the Salem Area Trail Alliance. The area is thick with a variety of trees, oak, maple, ash and fir, and winds pleasantly through the flora giving me the impression of being deep in the woods. In fact it brought to mind a story I read years ago about “the near-by far-away”. This describes this trail perfectly; less than six miles out Wallace Road from my home, yet far enough away to isolate me from cars, roads, and houses and allow only the sights of nature to fill my experience. The afternoon was quiet and birds where a little scarce, but a group of busy little Golden-crowned Kinglets topped off my time here, and I’m sure I will be back.