Sun, sky, water, and you

When the sun hits this time of year in Portland, you can’t wait for permission to get outside.  Someone once said of western Oregonians that we don’t love the rain, but it’s easy to celebrate sun chooses to grace us.  Wednesday was such a day.

Nice day for fishing on the Columbia

Nice day for fishing on the Columbia

I debated heading solo to the Gorge for a new hike, but the morning was chilly and the gorge would be shady, so I hedged.  My wife finally said she’d go with me, but she needed to finish some paperwork.   We got out of the house in the middle of the afternoon and headed northwest to Sauvie Island–NOT for the “clothing optional” beach, but just for a nice walk.  I hadn’t been out there in years.

Looking back upstream

Looking back upstream

We had a false start on one trail that was shut down to protect wintering birds. Ultimately we drove all the way out Reeder Road, where there are many places to stop along the Columbia River.   We walked for a while at beachy areas that seemed artificially enhanced by the look of the heavy equipment tracks.   We were not alone.  Lots of sun worshippers were out.

Tracks all over the place

Tracks all over the place

Where there was no sand, the shore was somewhat mossy in the way of Old Maid Flats on Mount Hood.   There were some great raptor nests atop power poles in the area, but I saw no eagles.

Nest atop the pole

Nest atop the pole

The beaches did not feel satisfying , so we returned to the car and drove all the way to the end of the road.  Right away I saw a trail closure for vegetation rehabilitation.  This was going well.  Sarcasm aside, we could still walk along the bank of the river, which wasn’t half bad.

Everyone's favorite topless volcano near the topless beach

Everyone’s favorite topless volcano near the topless beach

At one point the bank had completely washed away, right next to a barbed wife fence.  I was getting really frustrated, as though the hiking gods (I suspect Loki is involved) were saying, “Yo, a good hike ain’t gonna happen.”  Okay, that was Loki filtered through Jesse Pinkman*.

Jackie Chan relaxing after a nice stick chasing session

Jackie Chan relaxing after a nice stick chasing session

After a few moments, we hopped the fence gingerly and continued.  We spied couples canoodling and enjoying the sun, wearing shorts no less!  Californians and Floridians might not appreciate how surprising that is, but it’s kind of a big deal.  Our dog chased sticks repeatedly.

Quiet spot on the Columbia

Quiet spot on the Columbia

The river was right below us all the while, and great views ranged from Mt. St. Helens to Hood, and I even caught a sliver of Mt. Jefferson’s’ craggy summit.  It was a gorgeous afternoon.  On the return leg, I really appreciated the way the light hit the water so it almost seemed metallic.   It was the kind of walk that accrued pleasure over time.  There was no dramatic climb or wilderness feel, but it was perfect spot for a walk on a preview-of-spring day.

Shadows and  unique water light

Shadows and unique water light

About Josh Baker

"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” ― John Muir

Posted on March 14, 2014, in General Hiking, Hiking with dogs, Outdoors, Photography, Waterways and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. This is exactly what I want to do this afternoon. No high adventure, just a walk that accrues pleasantness as it goes on. I could do without being stymied by Loki/Jesse though😉

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