Thursday, February 10, 2011

Portland Walk: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

This has been our longest walk in Portland yet, almost ten miles. As a result this post is especially picture heavy. And we didn't even spot so much wildlife (well, at least not the fauna kind) so I can only image how many pictures I'll end up taking when we do this walk again in the spring.

Bridge Goose The S in OMSI
After getting across the river the walking started near OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which is located right next to the Marquam Bridge. For once I found something slightly pleasant about it, the geese that were hanging out on it's support structure were cute. Usually, though, I complain about it blocking views of the mountain. Although we weren't there for a visit but I couldn't help but take close up pictures of the neon and metal sign on the museum.

Power Line Graffiti Stone with Glass
For a while we were walking between the Willamette River and train tracks, spotting occasional geese along the way. The were several of these stone sculptures with layers of glass all along the path. We saw remnants of old bridges in a few places, and this power line pole with lots of graffiti. Overall, got a much better sense of Ross Island, and saw some of the barges and dock structures for the sand and gravel company that mines there.

Ross Island Mushrooms
We left the trail for a while to be closer to the river shore and wander through a mossy, well treed area. We didn't see any wildlife, but we heard plenty of frogs, or maybe toads? They were very loud, especially one that was close to me while I was taking a photo of a decaying log. Even though it was close, there was so much ground cover we didn't have a chance to spot one. We also thought we may have seen deer tracks? I'm no expert but it looked like there was a small and a large set of hoofs, perhaps a fawn and mother.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge 1976
There was a lot to see once we got to Oaks Bottom. We passed the largest group of houseboats I've seen here, the neat old Oaks Rink Building and the Oaks Amusement Park. We could also spot a bright blue mural across the park. We looked it up and it was Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Funeral Home, over 100 years old and pretty large, and the mural (newer) at 50,000sf. claims to be the largest outdoor hand-painted mural in the US. We hiked around the Wildlife area (pictured on the left) and there was plenty of moss to be seen, also some pretty amazing trees, several with holes straight through like this one.

Bike Shui Anti-no bike sign sentiment
And I just had to include these pictures because they amused me. First we saw the sign on the right, with graffiti on it, pulled off it's post and bent in the middle. That seems about right for Portland, with so many bikers, and I guess some weren't happy about not being able to bike in the wildlife area. Then as we exited on the other end of the path, I noticed there were more precautions, making it difficult for bikes to enter. Smart.

Pac Man Path View from Ross Is. Bridge
We emerged out of the trails (along the colorfully decorated pac-man path) into the Brooklyn neighborhood, and eventually crossed back to downtown on the Ross Island Bridge. It wasn't the most pedestrian friendly bridge, loud, fast moving cars and it was long. I doubt we'll use that one frequently, if ever, so the picture on the right might be the only picture I take from it!


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