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|The mighty Sandy River|
The day before the Corvallis Half Marathon, I was supposed to be taking it easy. But not wanting to waste a Saturday, I had to do something outside. I briefly considered skiing the morning, but a wet forecast for Mt. Hood but the kibosh on that idea. Rain and windy weather were also predicted for the Portland area.
Maybe a short hike? I had raingear......it wouldn't be the first time taking a hike in the rain. Pulling out my Sullivan "100 Hikes" book for guidance I hoped to zero in on something close by.
|Colorful rocks in the river's beach|
Oxbow Park caught my attention. A place I'd yet to visit. Located east of Gresham along the Sandy River, and a short drive across town. Grab the camera - time to check it out!
Oxbow Regional Park is a 1000-acre natural area along the Sandy River. It's managed by Metro, Portland's regional government. The park boasts ancient forests with huge old-growth trees, plentiful wildlife, and a windy, fast-flowing river attracting fisherman and boaters. To protect the wild animals within the park, pets are not allowed. So poor Bear had to stay home. :(
|The woods beckon....|
Sullivan's book recommended starting at the boat dock and taking a clockwise path through the maze of trails in the park. Finding the boat launch was easy. But shortly beyond this point, the path ended. It appeared the riverbank had eroded away, and taken the trail with it.
|Bleeding heart flowers|
With no path to follow, I ended up retracing my steps back to the parking lot, and walking along the park road for a short stretch before finding the trail again.
|Moss makes an intricate pattern on this rock|
This path led me down to the river's gravelly shore. Multi-colored rocks lined the sandy beach. The river, swollen by snowmelt churned mightily. Trees, fresh with the neon green colors of new leaves, lined both sides. A wonderful sight indeed!
Leaving the riverbank, the trail then dived into thick woods, green with moss and ferns. Large fir and cedar trees lined the footpath, towering above.
|Bright green path|
The park's trail network wasn't very well marked, so I managed to get myself turned around a bit (it also didn't help I'd left my trail map in the car). But at a junction, I opted to follow a overgrown road. Not too far away was a lovely patch of bleeding heart flowers. Excellent photo subjects!
|Rafters hit the rapids|
Meandering through the forest, I started to see lovely white trillium flowers. I took copious photos of the first one I saw, only to round a bend and come upon an area chock-full of perfect trillium blooms.
|Floating down the river|
This trail spit me out back at the river's edge. Taking a quick break, I was digging something out of my backpack, when I happened to spot a bunch of kayaks and two rafts floating through the rapids. The camera quickly came up and I managed to grab a few shots. It sure looked like a lot of fun!
The riverbank area was thick with bright yellow Oregon grape and a few fuzzy white serviceberry flowers.
Diving back into the the park's deep forests, the trail ambled through an area full of mossy trees. The droopy tree branches looked like long arms just waiting to grab someone. Almost like something out of a horror show (zombie tree apocalypse!)
Nearby, more new flowers were on display. A clearing was full of pink tubular Corydalis blooms.
|Sandy River bend|
Finally, my trail left the mossy old-growth forests and routed back along the Sandy River. High above the river's edge, it provided a nice vantage point to view the water's majestic oxbow bends.
|Another trillium - just because!|
With all my wandering I think I covered about four miles. The rain stayed away for the entire afternoon. And being early spring, I practically had the place to myself. Not knowing what to expect from the park, I was pleasantly surprised to find a wealth of spring wildflowers and a picturesque river. Glad I decided to get out and visit!
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