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Hiking Year-end wrap up

2022 Wildlife Gallery Part 1 – Feathered Friends

We thought we’d do something different this year and split our 2022 wildlife gallery into two posts to keep them a little shorter. It made the most sense to us to do a post with the different birds we saw during 2022 and then one of the other wildlife. As with our wildflower post any corrections or additions to our attempts at identifying what we’ve photographed is greatly appreciated. One last note, while we really enjoy taking pictures as a way to record what we see on our hikes, we are by no means photographers. We use our phones and a point and shoot camera on the auto setting, so the pictures are far from professional, but we hope you enjoy them.

We’ll start small which, aside from some of the raptors, is where we have the most difficulty identifying the various species (ducks and sea birds can be tricky too).
HummingbirdHummingbird at Memaloose Hills in May.

HummingbirdHummingbird at Upper Table Rock in May.

Black capped chickadeeBlack capped chickadee at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon's)Yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Marsh wrenWren (marsh?) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

White-capped sparrowWhite-crowned sparrow at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

SparrowSparrow? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Common yellow throatCommon yellow throat at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle)Yellow-rumped warbler (Myrtle) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Tree swallowsTree swallows at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Wren and white-crowned sparrowWhite-crowned sparrow and a wren at Miller Woods in May.

American goldfinchAmerican goldfinch pair at Miller Woods in May.

Song sparrowAnother sparrow at Miller Woods in May.

Hermit warblerHermit warbler? near Kings Mountain in May.

House finchHouse finch? at Upper Table Rock in May.

Rock wrenRock wren? at Upper Table Rock in May.

Ash-throated flycatcherAsh-throated flycatcher at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Small bird at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeUnknown at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

SwallowSwallow at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WarblerSome sort of warbler? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Purple MartinsPurple martins at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WrenAnother wren at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

SongbirdUnknown at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

SparrowSparrow? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

WarblerWarbler? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Black phoebeBlack phoebe? at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_1694Mountain bluebird near Union Peak in September.

IMG_1985Red-breasted nuthatch (best I could get) at Crater Lake in September.

IMG_2015Red crossbilss at Crater Lake in September.

IMG_4818Wren on the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_5040Dark eyed junco at Waverly Lake in December.

Going up a bit in size now (and a little easier to identify).
Grey jayCanada jay (grey jay) along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

Scrub jayCalifornia scrub jay along the Balfour-Klickitat Trail in April.

Stellar's jayStellar’s jay along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Female red-winged blackbirdFemale red-winged blackbird at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Red-winged blackbirdRed-winged blackbird at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Spotted towheeSpotted towhee at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

StarlingsStarlings along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Brownheaded cowbirdBrownheaded cowbird at Upper Table Rock in May.

RobinAmerican robin at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Tropical kingbirdTropical kingbird? at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Black-headed grosbeakBlack-headed grosbeak (also all I could get) at Applegate Lake in May.

Lazuli buntingLazuli bunting at Roxy Ann Peak in May.

Cedar waxwingCedar waxwing at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_6214Western tanagers, Siskiyou Wilderness in July.

IMG_1094American dipper (Ouzel) near South Umpqua Falls in September.

IMG_2047Townsends solitaire at Crater Lake National Park in September.

IMG_2249Clark’s nutcracker at Crater Lake National Park in September.

IMG_4556Varied thrush along the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_2981Unknown at Cascade Head in October.

We also struggle with a few of the woodpeckers.
WoodpeckerForest Park in January.

Northern flickerNorthern flicker at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April. We seem to see flickers on nearly every hike, but they don’t often sit still long enough for us to get a decent picture.

Pileated woodpeckerPileated woodpecker at Chehalem Ridge Nature Park in May. We rarely see these but like the flickers, when we do they are very difficult to get a photo of.

Acorn woodpeckerAcorn woodpecker at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

WoodpeckerHairy? woodpecker near Twin Lakes in the Umpqua National Forst in June.

IMG_8655Red breasted sapsucker at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area in July.

IMG_4737Either a hairy or downy woodpecker along the Eagle Creek Trail in November.

IMG_2764Unknown, Sky Lakes Wilderness in late September.

Next up are scavengers and birds of prey including those pesky hawks.
CrowCrow along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

RavenRaven at Upper Table Rock in May.

Turkey vultureTurkey Vulture at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

American kestralAmerican kestral along the Crown Zellerbach Trail in March.

OspreyOsprey along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

OspreyAnother osprey at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

Bald eagleBald eagle at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_2517Eagle in the Sky Lakes Wilderness in September. Not sure if it is a bald or golden.

Immature bald eagle and a hawkA bald eagle and hawk at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

HawksPair of hawks at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Hawk at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeHawk at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

HawkHawk at Julia Hansen Butler Wildlife Refuge in June.

IMG_0907Hawk along the Pacific Crest Trail near Carter Meadows Summit in August.

IMG_2056Hawk at Crater Lake National Park in September.

Barred owlBarred owl at Noble Woods in May.

Great horned owl at Ken Denman Wildlife RefugeGreat horned owl at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

Great horned owlYoung great horned owl at Roxy Ann Peak in May.

Moving on to game birds, a few of the species we saw this year were at the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area at their breeding facility in June.
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IMG_8640Ring-necked pheasant

IMG_8634Silver pheasant

IMG_8649Near the breeding facility at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area.

DoveMourning dove at Roxy Ann Peak a in May.

IMG_6290Grouse? in the Siskiyou Wilderness in July.

IMG_9295Grouse in the Mt. Adams Wilderness in August.

IMG_1783Grouse in the Sky Lakes Wilderness in September.

Bodies of water attract a lot of birds and provide us with a less obstructed view vs the forest.
Long billed dowitchers?Long billed dowitchers? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

KilldeerKilldeer at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

SandpiperSandpiper? at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Great blue heronGreat blue heron at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

KingfisherKingfisher at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

American bitternAmerican bittern at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

White pelicansWhite pelicans at Julia Butler Hansen Wildlife Refuge in June.

Hooded mergansersHooded mergansers at Yakona Nature Preserve in February.

Common mergansersCommon mergansers along the Klickitat Trail in April.

American cootAmerican coot at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Cinnamon tealCinnamon teal at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Ring necked ducks and an American cootRing-necked ducks (and an American coot) at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

Nothern shovelerNorthern shoveler at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

White -fronted geeseWhite-fronted geese at Ankeny Wildlife Refuge in April.

MallardMallard along the Hood River Pipeline Trail in May.

Wood duckWood duck at Denman Wildlife Area in May.

IMG_4906Not sure if this is a ruddy duck at Waverly Lake in December.

IMG_4967Mostly American widgeons with a green winged teal and a female bufflehead or two mixed in at Talking Water Gardens in December.

IMG_5016Bufflehead at Talking Water Gardens in December.

Family of geese on Applegate LakeCanada geese at Applegate Lake in May.

GeeseDomestic geese near the Klickitat Trail in April.

IMG_4914Domestic or hybrid? ducks at Waverly Lake in December.

Categories
Coastal Range Hiking Oregon Willamette Valley

Orenco, Noble & Miller Woods and Erratic Rock State Natural Site – 05/07/2022

A wet weather system along with a small chance of thunderstorms led us to look for a plan “B” for our second outing in May. Looking ahead to the hikes on our 2023 list for April/May gave us a suitable alternative so we moved a 2022 hike to next year and moved up an outing to visit four parks, two in Hillsboro and two SE of McMinville. These hikes were all located within an hour of Salem allowing to stay relatively close to home and we figured that the less than ideal weather might make for less crowded trails. We decided to start at the northern most trailhead and work our way south.

We arrived at the Orenco Woods Trailhead (open dawn to dusk) just before 6am and headed past the restrooms to an interpretive sign in front of the McDonald House.
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Beyond the house the path forked with the right hand fork leading to the Rock Creek Trail while the left fork led to the Habitat Trail which is the way we went.
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20220507_060901Camas

IMG_9282Lupine

IMG_9275Habitat Trail

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After a third of a mile we arrived at the Rock Creek Trail near NW Cornelius Pass Road where we made our first wrong turn of the morning. We initially turned right which would have led us back into Orenco Woods.
IMG_9292We’ll blame our inability to read this sign on it still being early in the morning. We started down the path ahead before quickly questioning the direction and correcting course.

IMG_9295He probably knew which way he was going.

IMG_9296Heading the right way now.

From Orenco Woods the Rock Creek Trail follows the sidewalk along NW Cornelius Pass Road north 150 yards to a crosswalk where it crosses the road and follows NW Wilkins Street west another third of a mile.
IMG_9299NW Wilkins

The trail crosses NW Wilkins St below some power lines at a crosswalk and resumes as a paved path.
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While there are no more sidewalk stretches of the trail until the Rock Creek Trailhead at NE Rock Creek Boulevard there are three other road crossing; NE Walker, NE Cornell, and NE Evergreen Parkway. Fortunately all of these road crossings are at signaled crosswalks.

A little over a half mile from Wilkins Street we arrived at the start of a loop in Orchard Park
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We stayed left planning on completing the loop on our return.
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IMG_9313Another trail user

Two tenths of a mile from the start of the loop the trail split. We didn’t see a sign/map here and didn’t consult the maps we had on our phones and mistook the left hand fork as simply a spur trail to a parking lot in the park and we stayed right. This was our second wrong turn of the morning.
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This path led downhill and crossed crossed Rock Creek without realizing that we had curved a full 180 degrees.
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IMG_9324Fringecup

The trail split again two tenths of a mile later and here we veered left thinking it was the continuation of the Rock Creek Trail.
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After a short distance the pavement ended at a circle of stone benches.
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A well worn dirt path picked up here along a fence line behind some apartements
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IMG_9332Spotted towhee

IMG_9334Stellar’s Jay

This dirt path ended after a tenth of a mile at what turned out to be NW John Olson Avenue but we didn’t figure that our right away. We didn’t see any signs for the trail here so we finally consulted the maps we had in our phones but even then didn’t realize our mistake. On the map there was a slight jog right coming out of Orchard Park before crossing NE Walker so we headed right to the next street corner where we read the street sign realized this was NE Walker. The full extent of our mistake still wasn’t clear though as we followed the dirt path back past the stone benches to the fork where we’d veered left. It was here that we made our third and final wrong turn of the morning. We were actually on the Orchard Park Loop and not on the Rock Creek Trail which had veered left up to the parking lot while we had gone downhill to the right. Not realizing this we took the right hand fork which recrossed Rock Creek and then climbed back up to the Rock Creek Trail at the start of the loop
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We almost made our fourth mistake here as we didn’t initially realize that we had made the full loop. It wasn’t until we spotted some familiar looking camas nearby that the light bulb went off.
IMG_9343Second time staring at this sign.

Having finally figured it out we headed north through Orchard Park again but this time hiked uphill through the parking lot to NE Walker.
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IMG_9349Not sure exactly how to interpret this scene – mourning, a murder, or breakfast?

IMG_9350The slight jog right along NE Walker.

We crossed NE Walker and a tenth of a mile later crossed NE Cornelius Pass.
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The next three quarters of a mile proved to be the most active for wildlife even though portions of it were between the creek and residences.
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IMG_9361Bridge of Rock Creek

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IMG_9363Look a pointer for John Olsen Avenue (just a lot further north).

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IMG_9366Mallards (A pair of wood ducks flew off at the same time the mallards headed downstream.)

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We had stopped while I attempted to get a photo of a small yellow bird that was bouncing around in a tree when we heard a branch/tree crack nearby. While I continued to try and get a picture Heather went over to the creek to investigate. It turned out to be a beaver which had been one of the animals left on our list that we hadn’t yet seen on a hike (or drive to one). Before she could get my attention (or a photo) it disappeared underwater so I still haven’t seen one in the wild.
IMG_9368Here is the only photo that I could even get with the little yellow bird visible at all.

IMG_9374NE Evergreen Parkway

Two tenths of a mile beyond NE Evergreen the trail passed under Highway 26 and in another 400′ arrived at the Rock Creek Trailhead.
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This was our turn around point so we headed back the way we’d come. We checked again for the beaver but it was no where to be found. Since we had inadvertently completed the Orchard Park Loop earlier we went straight back through the park and made our way back to Orenco Woods. At the entrance to the park we forked left staying on the Rock Creek Trail. (Retracing the short distance that we had hiked in the morning when we had made our first wrong turn.)
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Two tenths of a mile into the park we came to a footbridge over Rock Creek.
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After crossing the bridge we forked left and then took another left back on the Habitat Trail.
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IMG_9396Checkermallow

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The trail looped around and downhill to pass under the footbridge before arriving at small pond with a viewing platform.
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Beyond the pond the trail climbed back uphill near the McDonald House. We turned left here and made our way back to the trailhead.
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While it had remained cloudy all morning there had not been any noticeable precipitation during our 7.5 mile hike here.

The orange portion is the wrong turn on the Orchard Park Loop

From Orenco Woods we drove to the Baseline Road Trailhead at nearby Noble Woods.
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Our plan here was to make a counterclockwise loop using the outer most trails.
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From the trailhead we headed downhill to the right behind the rest rooms.
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Even though we were less than a mile from Orenco Woods we spotted a few flowers that we hadn’t seen during that hike.
IMG_9424Trillium

IMG_9426Solmonseal

20220507_092026_HDRFawnlilies

The trail leveled out to cross Rock Creek.
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20220507_092158Aven

A short spur trail on the other side of the creek theoretically led to Rock Creek but the recent rains had swollen it enough that the trail ended before the actual creek.
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We continued on the loop climbing toward Borwick Road Trailhead but before reaching the grassy park at that trailhead we turned right leaving the paved path for a compacted gravel/dirt trail
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This trail swung to the west before making a 180 degree turn and leading to the Borwick Road Trailhead. Near a viewpoint and bench Heather spotted a barred owl being harassed by a robin.
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IMG_9462Rock Creek from the viewpoint.

20220507_093329_HDRThe back of the owl (middle tree 2/3 of the way up)

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The viewpoint was near the turn of the trail so we got some more glimpses of the owl through the trees after the turn. A second owl began hooting and this one wound up flying off to have a conversation. We hiked past the parking area at the Borwick Road Trailhead and hopped on a the trail the map called a “wood-chip” trail. In truth it was mostly mud at this point.
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IMG_9474Violets

We stuck to the outer trail when this trail forked.
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We arrived back at the paved loop near Rock Creek. We turned right onto it, crossed Rock Creek, and then climbed back up to the Baseline Road Trailhead.
IMG_9481Swollen creek

20220507_094724Fairy bells

20220507_095156Cinquefoil

IMG_9482Nearing the trailhead.

The loop here was just over a mile.

We had once again been sparred any precipitation and as we drove to our next stop at Miller Woods found ourselves under blue skies and bright sunshine. Miller Woods however was under cloud cover but we were feeling pretty confident and put all our rain gear into our packs before setting off from the trailhead. While it had been our first visit to Orenco and Noble Woods we had hiked here in March, 2020 (post).
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On our previous visit we had taken the yellow Outer Loop and had considered taking one of the other trails this time but a portion of the Discovery Loop was closed due to hazardous conditions (appeared to be a slide/washout) and the Oak Summit Trail didn’t look as interesting as the Outer Loop so we followed our route from 2020 except for a short section that had been rerouted.
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From the kiosk we followed the yellow pointers downhill through the grass passing camas and birds along the way down.
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IMG_9493A wren and a white-crowned sparrow

IMG_9496American goldfinches

IMG_9499Tree swallows

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As we neared the tree line the precipitation finally arrived and a light rain began to fall.
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We stopped in the trees to put our rain jackets on and then began descending through the forest to an unnamed stream.
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IMG_9511Bleeding heart near the stream.

The trail then turned NNW leveling out a bit above Berry Creek as it traversed the hillside.
IMG_9514Berry Creek down to the right.

IMG_9516There was a lot of wild ginger on the hillside.

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Not long after donning our rain jackets the rain stopped and sunlight began to break through again.
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The trail climbed as it came around the hill and we spotted a deer in the distance.
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It was a young one that was munching on plants along a service road. As we made our way by on the trail Heather noticed the mother bedded down on the road.
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After leaving the deer the trail soon began to descend and leave the trees.
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It was here that the trail had been rerouted since our 2020 visit. In 2020 the trail veered left to a service road and made a right turn along the road back to the tree line before reaching a bridge across a creek. Now the trail simply headed downhill sticking to the treeline.
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IMG_9544Iris

IMG_9546Buttercups

One of the neat features at Miller Woods is the wildlife survey covers which are liftable metal covers that could house wildlife. We had yet to lift one and see anything more than ants though until the cover near the creek. Lifting this cover revealed a small snake.
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IMG_9549Small garter snake

We gently replaced the cover and continued on the loop which reentered the trees after crossing the creek.
IMG_9552Approaching the bridge and creek.

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20220507_114520 Striped coralroot

It was shortly after crossing the bridge that we discovered the trail closure which ended the question of whether we would do the different, shorter loop this time or repeat our previous hike.
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Doing the longer 4.5 mile loop turned out to be great as the weather stayed dry and we spotted several more deer and some birds along the way.
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IMG_9574Sparrow

IMG_9583Doe just hanging out in a patch of poison oak. (It doesn’t bother deer.)

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IMG_9585Nearing the high point of the trail at K.T. Summit

IMG_9586Spotted coralroot

IMG_9589K.T. Summit

IMG_9591A very cool madrone tree.

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IMG_9598Two more deer with a third off camera.

Another neat feature that was new for us this visit were a number of signs along the trail identifying different evergreen trees in the Miller Woods Diversity Area.
IMG_9613There was at least one identifier for each tree listed on this sign. The signs were particularly nice because many were next to younger trees which made it easier to see the needles and bark instead of just look at a trunk and having to look up to try and see other details of the trees.

A couple of examples.
IMG_9614Western white pine

IMG_9616Western larch

IMG_9623Vanilla leaf

20220507_124234Fairy slippers

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The trail passes above the entrance road and swings out before dropping down to what you expect to be the parking area (there is a signed short cut to it along the way) but the Outer Loop actually loops back behind the parking area and pops out of the trees near a the pond that the Discovery Loop goes around.
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IMG_9649Frog near the pond.

Another new feature was a platform over the pond.
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IMG_9656Red-winged blackbird

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After taking a break on the platform we hiked uphill to the parking area and headed for our last stop.

2022 track in orange

The Erratic Rock State Natural Site is located just off Highway 18 between McMinville and Sheridan. There are no amenities at the site, just a quarter mile paved trail uphill to the rock from a small pullout along Oldsville Road. While it is less than 30 miles from our house that is a stretch of highway that we never find ourselves on. I realized when I was planning this outing that it would only add about 10 minutes to our drive home from Miller Woods to detour to the site so I added it to the plans.

We missed the little pullout but found a wide section of shoulder to pull off on and walk back to the signed trail.
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The Erratic Rock is a 90 ton rock from the Northern Rocky Mountains that wound up over 500 hundred miles away on a hill in Oregon after being deposited here after one of Lake Missoula’s floods.
IMG_9666Interpretive sign at the start of the trail.

We were in a pocket of mostly blue sky as we headed up the trail.
IMG_9667Vineyard along the trail.

Although short the trail gains over 100′ in the quarter mile to the rock and we had already hiked over 13 miles, we were relieved when we saw the trail begin to crest.
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Seeing the rock there and knowing how far it had to travel to wind up there made it an impressive sight. The views from the hill were also quite nice making it a worthwhile detour.
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Our total for the day came to 13.8 miles with only 920′ of cumulative elevation gain. Individually each of these hikes are worth a stop and they all have things to offer young hikers. It turned out to be a fun combination with a unexpected amount of wildlife sightings and aside from the 10-15 minutes of light rain had been a surprisingly dry day. Happy Trails!

Flickr: Orenco, Noble & Miller Woods and Erratic Rock State Natural Site