On a late-night, try-to-work-out-the-crazies run yesterday, it became obvious to me that what this very last day of 2018 needed was an adventure. A planned-by-me, all-for-me, spend-all-the-hours-of-daylight-outside stasia solo adventure. But one that got me home in time for new years;) Thus, an urban adventure was born.
I don’t know how this works for other people, but when I have the unfocused need for adventure — unfocused, that is, in that I want to go somewhere and do something but I don’t have anything specific in mind — it helps me to pull out my bike map, look for a green space I haven’t been before, and aim for that. This time, it was the Sandy River Delta that called to me. I’ve been past it a million and one times but never actually stopped to wander around. I always see people walking their dogs, but I’d also just read that it’s one of the Willamette Valley Birding Trail stops. So hey! Bike and birding adventure! Sign me up!
As far as birding goes, I’m not really sure this is the best spot. With the bazillion dogs running around, it doesn’t exactly lend itself to serene avian life, though I did see two pileated woodpeckers that I was kind of excited about. BUT, it was a lovely spot for a wintery walk, with nice views of Mt Hood and lots of spots to sneak down to the Sandy River. I started the day in a little bit of a funk, but by the time I’d biked out here and wandered around for a few hours, I was feeling pretty happy again.
Then the adventure really started! I’d biked out to the Delta largely on the Springwater path, but from there I had no real plans for what to do next — but as is always the case, once I’m out it’s really easy to take one step and then another and another that all cohere into a wonderful trip. I ended up on a path I’ve been on exactly once before, though from the other direction (now that I’m home, Google tells me it’s part of the 40-mile Loop). And from there, I ended up on top of a levy-like thing that I followed for a while, meeting a coyote before skirting a fence around some weird industrial thing and ending up at Chinook Landing Park, another park I’ve known about forever but have never actually gone to. Score! I didn’t even mean to go to that one; it just fell in my lap.
(he best adventures often start with this kind of thing: a tenuous road that may or may not be legal to be on and may or may not go anywhere;) Though this one, it turns out, will ultimately be part of the 40-mile loop)
The whole thing gave me a feeling I don’t often have in my normal Portland life: one of being in the wild west, land that’s not developed, land that feels unclaimed, ignored, left to be feral and wild. That feeling, especially on an urban adventure, is priceless, and exactly what the day needed.
From there it was a meandery way home as the winter sun sank lower and my fingers and toes got colder and more numb. And now, home again with the heat on and dressed in all my cozy fleecy things, I feel much more ready to optimistically start a new year.
2019, bring it on:) And happy new year to all:)