As stated in my last post, I am participating in a local summer “challenge” that aims to get folks out and about to nearby parks, nature trails and other fun outdoor locations. I described my first outing of the challenge here.
My second walking adventure took me to:
Evergreen Trail at Columbia Springs
The Evergreen Trail starts at the Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center in Vancouver, WA. The center is a nonprofit that teaches folks about stewardship and environmental science. There is also an active fish hatchery on site that raises steelhead, rainbow trout and chum salmon.
Chules and I made our way along trails flanked by native and nonnative flora. It all smelled wonderful to Chules.
There are a number of paths to choose from, all of them relatively short and easy to walk.
We met some very friendly ducks who apparently thought we’d be easy marks for snagging a snack. They lost interest and swam away as soon as they realized we were snackless.
All in all, Columbia Springs made for a nice morning adventure, and I got another location checked off my list.
I came across a local “summer challenge” run through an app that is designed to encourage participants to get outdoors and explore the area. There are 20 sites listed, and if I verify (through the app’s gps) that I have visited 15 of the 20 locations by August 31st, I get entered into a drawing for prizes.
My walking companion Chules and I have visited and “checked in” at five of the locations so far. I’m going to share with you some of the beauty of my area through a series of posts and photos of our outings. My first destination, in Ridgefield, Washington:
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
Oh, I forgot… Chules didn’t get to come on this walk. No dogs allowed in the refuge. But I had the good company of one daughter and three grandkids.
The Oaks-to-Wetland trail winds through large native Oregon white oak trees and other lush foliage (including some carefully marked poison oak), and along a lake with excellent opportunities for bird spotting.
Then the trail opens up into tall grass and climbs away from the wetlands.
We didn’t make it all the way around the loop. Hot weather and a two-year-old who was due for a nap prevailed. Maybe next time.
With July’s record-breaking high temperatures here, it’s been frustrating and – truth be told – rather depressing to watch flowers in my native plant garden wilt before reaching full bloom and then turn end-of-summer brown without setting seeds.
What happens, I wonder, if annuals can’t reseed themselves? What happens if birds and other critters have no seeds to tide them through the coming winter? What happens when spring pollinators show up and find but a few flowers to feed upon?
I do what I can for my small domain. I water the roots of my plants; can’t do much for the sunburned leaves. This fall I will plant more natives. In the winter I will feed the birds. Next spring, I will build a fountain of some sort to provide reliable water for thirsty creatures passing through my yard.
Sometimes my efforts feel quite satisfying, like I’m giving back to the planet. Lately, it just feels like someone trying to extinguish a forest fire with spit.