After a couple of months of being on my own while Heather recovered from a bad knee she had been released to take short hikes with minimal elevation changes. With Heather cleared for action we just needed a favorable forecast for our December hike. When a day off coincided with a rain-free forecast we set off for the Talking Water Gardens in Albany. The site of two former mills Talking Water Gardens is a series of wastewater ponds created to assist with water treatment for the cities of Albany and Millersburg. While it may not sound like a typical place for a hike a series of paths and maintenance roads provide for a nice stroll with plenty chances to spot wildlife.
Waverly Lake at sunrise.
We headed left (clockwise) around Waverly Lake where a number of ducks were paddling around.
I think this is a ruddy duck.
Guessing these are some sort of domestic/mallard? crossbreeds. Very interesting looking.
More mallards near Cox Creek
Cox Creek flowing toward Waverly Lake.
Nearing the outlet of Cox Creek.
When we arrived at Cox Creek flowing out of the lake we crossed Salem Avenue then crossed Cox Creek on a footbridge.
We turned left on far side of the creek and followed a paved path 0.3 miles to Waverly Dr. NE and the other possible starting point, Simpson Park.
We almost got off-track here. This path on the right (just after passing under some railroad tracks) does lead into the wetlands but it wasn’t part of the Oregon Hikers described hike.
One of several interpretive signs along the trails.
Frosty leaves, it had been a chilly 28 degrees when we started out.
We walked over to the park to take a look but didn’t check out the Simpson Park Trail this trip.
The Simpson Park Trail is a 1 mile out and back along the Willamette River. It also offers access to the Riverfront Trail which one could follow SW almost 3.5 miles to Monteith Riverpark at the mouth of the Calapooia River. With Heather being limited to shorter hikes for now that wasn’t an option today but will be something we look forward to trying in the future.
After the brief detour we recrossed Waverly Road and entered the gardens through a black gate.
We headed left past a mostly frozen pond.
Map on a welcome sign.
There are numerous different loops and routes available through the gardens. We followed the Oregon Hikers description linked above. We had to stop numerous times to consult the track map from that description to stay on the right path due to the trails not being marked/signed and the only maps having been located near the entrance. The paths themselves were in good shape and we saw a lot of ducks and other birds as we wound through the wetlands.
Bald eagle fly over
Flock of geese flying over
One of many unsigned intersections.
One of two memorials in the gardens.
Green winged teal
Simpson Park across a pond.
After completing our loop we headed back to Waverly Lake where some fog had rolled in.
Fishermen heading into the fog at Waverly Lake.
Mallards hanging out in the fog.
Dark eyed junco
This was surprisingly nice hike and we’re anxious to visit again when the plants are green and water is flowing through the ponds. This was perfect though for a first outing to test Heather’s progress. Merry Christmas and Happy Trails!
Flirck: Talking Water Gardens