Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Date last visited: February 15, 2005
Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation
Path Surface: Dirt, Gravel
Elevation gain/loss: minimal
Distance: 2 miles
Ratings: Setting +++ Calorie-burning ++
Directions: Hwy 30 to Sauvie Island Bridge. North on Sauvie Island Rd. three miles. Parking lot on the left at sign: "Wapato Access Greenway." GPS 45° 39.615N 122° 50.318W
We have always called this walk "Virginia Lake" although, presently, Virginia Pond or Virginia Wetlands would be more accurate. Nevertheless, this walk is a worthwhile two miles, no matter the hydrous content.
From the parking lot, start out on the well-worn and wide path. Shortly, you will arrive at a picnic shelter. From habit, we go left here, although it doesn't matter much, the main trail loops back to this point.
Fifty feet from the shelter is a spur to the right that goes to an immense, grayed viewing platform, overlooking.....no lake. The last several times we have been here, the view is simply an expanse of brown, hissing grass. Someday, in a wetter year, the lake will return along with the waterfowl.
Retrace your steps and continue on the main path, passing by an utterly useless blind on the right. At just over a half a mile, turn left on another spur for a view of the Multnomah Channel from Hadley's Landing. Share the dock with fishermen and gulls or bring a picnic to enjoy next to the river.
Returning to the main trail, turn left to walk beside the river. You know it's there but the vegetation prevents all but an occasional glimpse. Complete the circuit back to the picnic shelter, then turn left back to your car.
A few groups of birds livened up this late winter walk. Both the gold crown and ruby crown kinglets, chickadees, junco, robins, song sparrows and a red-breasted sapsucker made an appearance. Off in the distance, we spotted a bald eagle, which later flew closer to check out the fishing at Hadley's Landing. Also spotted in the neighborhood were a downy woodpecker, a Bewick's wren and a red tail hawk.