Saturday, April 29, 2017

Peter Courtney Bridge Opening

Yesterday was the "soft" opening of the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge in Salem. We have been waiting for this event for it seems a long time, and were very excited to be able to use this new bridge and trail that connects the Salem Riverfront Park with the Minto-Brown Island Park.  It is now possible to walk from West Salem, cross the Willamette River on the historic train bridge, continue through the Riverfront Park, cross the Peter Courtney Bridge and walk the miles and miles of trails in Minto-Brown. We turned this event into an opportunity for a bird walk. The south end of the bridge actually touches down on the Minto-Brown Island Park--North Basin Conservation Area, which held the former settling ponds for the Boise-Cascade Paper Mill. They now make up a wonderful wetlands for a great variety of birds.  Here is a link to our Observation List with bird photos for our walk.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Spring Birdwalks at Salemtowne

A higher than normal volume of rain in the Willamette Valley continues to attempt to cramp our style of living. However, we are not defeated easily and try to get in a bird walk every day. I've been leading weekly spring birdwalks at Salemtowne during this month of April.  This mornings rain dampened the number of participants, but eight brave people showed up anyway. We have met every Sunday at 8:00am for an hour and have had as many as eighteen people.  We have walked a variety of routes and seen a good number of bird species.  Todays number was our highest at twenty six species. You can check out today's observation list here. It's been a good social event and I hope to repeat next Spring.  

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Columbia River Gorge - Then & Now

We have just returned from a trip of four days in the Columbia River Gorge.  It's an area that holds many memories for Jeanette and me, starting with our Honeymoon Bicycle Tour in May of 1993.  We  returned there many times in the following years on bike tours, day hikes, and backpacks.  Spring is our favorite time to be there and enjoy the fantastic wild flowers. 

Horsetheif Lake Campground - May 1993

Horsetheif Lake Campground - April 2017
Times have changed, in 1993 our transportation was bicycles and we had the campground to ourselves. It was very quiet.  This year we traveled in luxury in our RV, the campground was full by night fall and our neighbors with an alcohol fueled party where up chopping wood until 1:30am in the morning.

In March of 2006, we took Buster on one of his longest hikes on The Dalles Riverfront Trail.
This year a greying older Buster, a little braver, hiked a total of four miles. Spring is a little late this year, maybe as much as a month.  Snow banks still can be seen along I-84 near Multnoma Falls, and the major wild flowers have yet to bloom. Guess we will just have to return again.