Monday’s Meander: Salmon Creek Regional Park

One place I haven’t visited in a long while is Salmon Creek Greenway, part of Salmon Crteek Regional Park in Vancouver, WA. (Near that area is popular Klineline Pond for swimming and softball fields.) It is only an hour from my home and I’ve missed it. Until I enjoy it once more, these wintry pictures help bring it closer. The paved trail is only 3 miles, but the greenway is comprised of 368 acres of varied landscape: wetlands, bottomlands, forest, and its namesake, Salmon Creek. Surpsingly, it is within an urban area, yett many mammals and birds (including migrating waterfowl) utilize this diverse environment. These include deer, coyotes, beavers and rabbits, racoons and opossums. And, of course, frogs, harmless snakes and assorted others.

I enjoy being outdoors in frosty weather. The chilly season’s mostly monochrome views are peaceful–more so when not raining. And as sunlight brightened then shifted, it was water that caught my eye again and again.

Monday’s Meander: A Refuge of Autumnal Beauties

A month ago, the rains fell only sporadically; now it blows in and hammers, drizzles, mists and sweeps over the Pacific Northwest. Winter. This morning there was freezing fog, and when the fog dissipated, the cold remianed strong. But that’s November; it’s our wintry rainy season. So I decided to look back at October and share some last fall scenes. Photos were taken at Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, a place we return to 2-3 tmes a year. Riparian forest, lowlands, wetlands: 1800 acres of wonders to explore. The trails are just over 3 miles when all are open–but worth even a shorter walkabout. I hope you enjoy the shots.

We end up at our starting point having enjoyed a couple of hours observing birds and skittering creatures we can’t quite find. And listening to wind sweep over grasses, play in branches and bring to us birdsong. And watching the river flow with its quiet power, smelling fecund earth mand fallne leaves– and walking, walking, walking. It is always a privledge to move about nature’s surprises and designs.

Monday’s Meander: Fall Beauty at Foothills and Roehr Parks

I’m grateful to live in a state and area where there are so many city parks. The last year or two have seen so many more visiting them, and that’s wonderful. Greater Portland makes it a priority to provide as much green space as possible. It encourages positive energy in mental and physical well being of all citizens. I also appreciate parks in our city of Lake Oswego, and visit one weekly if possible. Last Friday I wandered about to snap photos of vibrant late autumn scenes. It was near end of afternoon; the light held that gleaming gold in it. Foothills Park and Roehr Park unfold alongside the flowing constancy of the Willamette River. Fall and winter rains have returned often and remain longer, so I wanted to capture these moments while more dry and bright.

I may be absent from these pages until next Monday’s post. I’m getting my booster Covid-19 shot Wednesday and tend to have “a robust immune system response” as my doctor so nicely puts it…So I likely will be sleeping and sipping tea from bed a day or so. But next week I’ll take you along to the Pacific Ocean. We visited yesterday after time away; it was spectacular.

Good week to you all out there. I hope your lives get better despite these troublesome times. Stay hopeful, be kindly. We all need each other more, not less, and not a day goes by that I am not grateful for friends, family and everything I can do to embrace, explore and share in this unpredictable life.

Monday’s Meander: The Big River Calls

Yes, Oregon’s numerous rivers hold me in their thrall, and I miss visiting far more of them. This shot is of the Columbia River. Last week I posted a Columbia Gorge hike and, prior to that, a visit to the Fruit Loop resulting in three heavy bags of amazing apples (we’ve eaten most–though we did share). Today it’s blustery-rainy where I live. So it’s good to wrap up recent sunny treks out there with a last revisit of a visit in and around the town of Hood River, a major stop for water sports enthusiasts. (Consistently high winds coming down the Gorge encourage their activities.) We often stroll the streets, visit shops, enjoy coffee or lunch. But the Columbia and surrounding landscape are the draws for me. And great athletes out on the water. This is a prime spot for water sports. I’d have loved being out there a few decades back!

A bit of trivia: the actual Hood River, originating from Mt. Hood’s wilderness in the Cascade Range, joins the Columbia here. And a side note: Marc was offered a job there not long ago…it was very tempting though too far from family if we relocated. And not an easy commute from our home. So here we remain–but it’s beautiful there! Sit back, enjoy the views.

Can you see the adventurers? The camera is pointing at the Washington State side of the river.

The above slideshow: I tried to keep up with the para glider and taking as many shots as I could. He/she struggled a bit so there would be a return ot the shore– but about the time he/she cruised closer out the person went again.

Farewell, Hood River and Columbia River Gorge!–until we meet again.

Monday’s Meander: To Hood River Fruit Loop for Apples

It was time to visit the Fruit Loop, a 35 mile trip that passes 29 member farms which offer produce stands. The orchards bear a variety of fruits, and acres of flowers or vegetables alongside wineries (tasty-looking wine, but we no longer drink) make up a cornucopia of delights. We go through the town of Hood River which sits on the Columbia River, and head out one Highway 35. The landscape is breathtaking; this fecund valley lies at the base of Mt. Hood in the Cascade Mountains. (One also sees Mt. Adams in places.) We were seeking apples and pears but the views alone are worth a leisurely drive–during any season, though I love the autumn weather and offerings.

We originally migrated from Michigan decades ago and still miss those big apple orchards, hayrides and up-close views of busy cider mills from our youth. Nothing quite as fine on a frosty day than a cup of steaming hot cider with a still-warm cinnamon sugared cake donut nearly melting in your mouth. This was (and is) a long tradition shared by untold numbers there, and when we grew up and later took our five kids, it was even more fun. There are not just the same offerings in Oregon, though close (apple strudel with ice cream and cider at Portland Nursery, for instance). But our fall outings make up for our Midwestern loss.

We’ll first stop by Drapers Girls Country Farm and U-Pick Orchards. We come here mostly because it has a quaint, almost worn feel and I find it inviting. A third generation farm now run by one family member and her three daughters, it offers ten different fruits. (The place below is a small rental house on the property.)

We wander about but purchase only a handful of apples here–we have a favorite orchard coming up next.

On we go, passing Oregon scenery I love so keep snapping pictures, even from the moving car.

Our destination is Kiyokawa Family Orchards, operating since 1911; their speciality is growing over 150 varieties of apples, pears, cherries, and stone fruit. And that means over one hundred varieties of apples, alone! We consistently find their operation clean, the staff knowledgeable and friendly, and the bounty exceptional.

We park amid a throng of cars; I try to avoid photographing people up too close. But there were a lot of visitors and apple tasters.

We wound our way back from viewing some of the orchards and, having decided to not pick our own but sample multitudes of choices, we found apple heaven as we expected. You pay $15 per bag, then fill them up with any type and as much as you want!
Below, our final indulgence, lugged to the hold of my car (a new compact SUV bought since our accident).

Happy with our many choices–whose names we have already forgotten–and munching on a couple different ones, our mouths watering with each satisfying bite, we start home.

Passed a old and empty, dilapidated country store that I had to stop and look over. It must have been humming with business once upon a time.

And we then followed the highway along the Columbia River within the Columbia River Gorge. Next week, I will take you back there for more.