We’ve been busy busy busy this summer, so we only managed to get the canoe down last weekend. We took Junior out last Sunday and put in at Rivergrove, where we left off last year, and paddled downstream almost to Wanker’s Corner (yes, that’s a real place name).
There is a put-in spot at Wanker’s Corner, so yesterday we decided to check it out (it’s labeled “Shipley Bridge” on the Tualatin Riverkeepers’ map). It turned out to be a bit too primitive and dicey, so we went back to Rivergrove and paddled the full two miles downstream to Wanker’s Corner (river mile 7.4 – 5.4) and back, hoping to see a blue heron or… something…
Coming around a bend, we first saw some other paddlers, then, above, a big bird with a white underbelly: an osprey. It flew back and forth a couple times then landed in a tree right next to us.
Just steps from our door, three new segments of the Westside Regional Trail are nearing completion. The project will join existing trails to form a six mile bike and pedestrian corridor from the north side of Tigard through the Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton. Eventually the trail will continue north and south connecting western Portland metro area communities between the Tualatin River and the Willamette River.
The new segments of the trail cross some difficult terrain, including steep hillsides with switchbacks and bridges over wetlands. Construction began in the summer of 2012, but was suspended for the wet season. At the approach to a new bridge, a large puddle formed over the winter, and in the spring we noticed tadpoles.
By summer, the construction crews returned with their heavy machines and piles of gravel. The tadpoles had turned into Pacific Chorus Frogs, but they weren’t ready to leave their birthplace on their own. We also discovered immature salamanders, still with gills.
Since it was clear their world would soon be buried under tons of gravel and pavement, son Z and I embarked on an emergency relocation project. Three evenings in a row, we took nets and plastic containers to their little pond and caught as many as we could. We walked them to another wetland and set them free. We got 19 in all; 12 frogs and 7 salamanders. We think we got most of the frogs, but the salamanders were really hard to catch. On the third night, we were assisted by daughter E and Grandma L.
When we came back from a short trip to Iowa, we found that crews had resumed work on the approach to the bridge, destroying the little world as we expected. Some of the puddle remained, so we hope any remaining salamanders and frogs were able to flee.
Seen at Nature Church today, a momma deer and her adolescent twins. This little guy and I startled each other coming around the corner. I saw his mom up the ravine my trail was traversing. After keeping my distance for a while, I took a few slow steps closer, and this guy took a couple toward me. Then he stomped his front foot. I backed away, and he trotted up to be with momma, and a sibling I hadn’t noticed. The three of them kept their eye on me and kept eating.
After a bit, the little ones bounded up the hill, and started frolicking. Bucking and jumping and racing across the ravine and back.
I walked up my trail past them to join the main stem of the creek for my usual walk. When I came back 15 minutes later, they were still cavorting.