A Walk on the Wild Side

Good morning, my friends. It was a beautiful day here yesterday. If you've read yesterday's post, you might remember that we were trying to decide whether to get out for a walk in the afternoon. The morning weather was foggy and chilly, and it didn't look promising. Nevertheless, we went early to do our grocery shopping. We were home and had everything put away before 10:00 a.m. 

The weather was still iffy for an enjoyable walk in the sunshine. I went to work on my slow-stitching. Leaving so early, I'd skipped it for the time being. I stitched enough to decide to move my hoop. These pieces are about big enough for four moves of the hoop, and so I'm about half finished with this. It takes a long time to stitch those green leaves.

There was some time for sewing before lunch. I sewed the first section together. This has the left ear of the bunny.

Then, I laid out the pieces for the second section. This one includes the eyes of the bunny.

Sewn together, it looked like this.

When the two sections were sewn together, they looked like this:

The third section is laid out now, covered in rulers. There wasn't enough time to sew it together. I was in the basement, and I still didn't know if we'd be going for a walk. But I was hungry, and that was reason enough to take a break.

Heading up the stairs, I could see the clouds had cleared off and it was a bright sunny day. Hooray! We had our lunch, and then we headed out to the Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This was only just open to the public on March 18th, and so we were among the first visitors. If you look at the sign below, you can see the red line along the lake, and that is where we walked.

If you're coming with us, you'll have to park your bike and tie up your dog here. Tie it to your bike, if you want to. And, for goodness sake, no jogging. This is going to be a leisurely walk.

Okay, here we go. The beginning of the trail is paved.

We crossed a bridge over the Wapato Creek. Mike and I could cross together and stay under the weight limit. Use your best judgment here.

There was some fun artwork along the railing.

And look at this snazzy bridge!

When I reached the middle, I took this picture looking left. The bridge takes us across the creek. The lake is beyond.

Looking right, it looks like this:

At the end of the bridge, one can decide to go left or right. We went to the right.

It's easy to see why this would be designated as a refuge. It was a big marshy wetlands area with plenty of trees and reeds for nesting.

Every time I pointed my camera at any of the ducks, they ducked their heads underwater.

Finally, I caught one of them. This is a Northern Shoveler.

This is a coot.

They have the coolest feet. Here's a picture where I captured the feet when we visited the Whitewater Preserve in southern California a few years ago. 

Of course, the requisite Canada geese.

Here's another coot. I kept hoping one of them would come out of the water and show me its feet, but they all stayed pretty far away.

We were surprised to see what appear to be duck blinds out in the water. Then, we came to this little trail leading down to the water's edge.

Here's a close-up of the sign. Apparently, this is open for duck hunting on certain days, and by permit only.

This is what the website says about duck hunting:

Wapato Lake National Wildlife Refuge is developing public use programs, including waterfowl hunting and is currently conducted in tandem with the restoration of the historic Wapato Lake lakebed. Waterfowl hunting at the refuge began in the 2020-21 season, and provides waterfowl hunters with a high-quality opportunity that is easily accessible from the Portland metropolitan area. Hunting is allowed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays within the Oregon state waterfowl season. Waterfowl hunters will be assigned blinds at the perimeter of the 275-acre hunt area via a lottery system. 

Goose hunting, however, is prohibited. Here's the reason for the distinction:

In coordination with ODFW goose hunting will be prohibited at Wapato Lake NWR in an effort to reduce impacts to wintering dusky Canada geese. The dusky is a subspecies of Canada goose that breeds only in the Copper River Delta area on the south-central coast of Alaska and on islands in the Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska. They winter primarily in the Willamette Valley and along the lower Columbia River of Oregon and Washington. The dusky represents one of the smallest subspecies populations of geese in North America.

Walking on, we came to the end of the trail. We could have walked on, but decided we'd walked far enough.

This bridge was closed. You can see the town of Gaston on the far side.

Far off in the distance, there were several crews. We couldn't tell what they were doing, but they were all carrying shovels. The lakebed is being restored, and so I suppose it had something to do with that effort.

Walking back, I just took a few more pictures.

Speaking of coots, here's an Old Coot. The bench was occupied when we walked past the first time. When we found it open, Mike demonstrated its proper usage.

After taking that picture, I sat there beside him. While we sat, several vee-formations of geese flew overhead. A word to the wise: If you're carrying an umbrella, now would be a good time to open it. Just sayin'.

Continuing on, check out that tree in the upper left-hand corner of the image below.

It's been nearly gnawed through by beavers. You can see the stump of their previous victim just to its right.

Looking closer, you can even see the gnaw marks left by their little teefies.

We noticed several trees nearly gnawed off.

Naughty beavers!

We saw quite a few of these red-spotted garter snakes (completely harmless) warming themselves in the sunshine.

Arriving back at our car, I noticed this sign. We decided to follow the arrows.

It was a bit of a drive, and we weren't sure what to expect when we arrived. Along the way, we passed this barn sporting a quilt block.

As it turns out, it was the same park where Sue and I walked a couple of years ago

We were walked out for the day, and so we drove on by and headed for home. There, we found the kitties champing at the bit to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Smitty had a good dust bath until all his white parts were a sick shade of brown.

He's gonna need to do some work on his toe jam here.

But first, a nice first sunbath of the season.

Okay, so I'm writing fast again this morning...although I've been sitting here too long to say that I've written it "fast." I'm finally getting my monthly pedicure today. The weather is still nice, but we're expecting it to change this afternoon. This kind of spring weather never lasts so early in the season, but a few sunny days sure brighten our spirits. When I get home, I'll get back to my sewing. I'm hoping to get most of the bunny sewn together today.


Barbara said...

There's no pleasure in getting to be an old coot unless you have some fun along the way ~ Gary D. Schmidt

dgs said...

Wow, those little beavers really do chuck wood. I've seen beaver dams but never noticed where they have chopped trees down. Great photos. I will definitely try to keep my eyes open and look for such signs in the future. Way cool hike and your weather look perfect for such an outing. Local news reported we've had 12 atmospheric river storms this year. Sure nice to get outdoors when you have a chance without rain (or in your case snow).

piecefulwendy said...

What a fun walk, and the sunshine looks wonderful!

Sara said...

looks like a really lovely place to walk, but admit to being a bit bewildered by waterfowl hunting allowed in a nature walk area. Wouldn't that be a danger to walkers?

Christine said...

What a super walk, it's good that it's near to home as you'll be able to see the ducklings when they arrive....
Love the barn quilt block.

Vicki W said...

What a lovely walk! Your leaf stitching is really nice too.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Looks like a wonderful area to walk but I wonder why joggers aren't allowed. I can see not allowing bikes and motorized 'things' but joggers can't do much damage. I don't jog, so maybe I'm wrong on that.