Thursday, March 30, 2017

March Hiking Goals

One thing is immediately obvious to me while putting together this post. And that is, I have an entirely excessive number of pictures to share. I think I'll take that as a good thing- it means I have made it out to a number of different hikes and beaches this month. 

First, the local Bald Hill trail system got our visit. March is the beginning of the nesting season for some local birds, so it becomes pretty important in the off leash stretches to keep your dog either on leash or under close voice control, because letting them off into the fields can cause some serious damage to the nesting birds. 

Bald Hill-3859
This counts as being on the trail, right?
Bald Hill-3861
Most of our trails in Benton County have these brown markers

Bald Hill-3852
Showing the way the trail goes

A trip up to visit a friend in Portland gave us the chance to visit a totally new park. I've heard about the Sandy River Delta park (also called Thousand Acres) for years from the Portland area people, but I've never had a good chance to go until now. We went for about a two hour hike with five dogs, and there were plenty of trails we never even saw let alone hiked. Some areas were a little flooded, but not nearly as bad as I hear it is now.

Sandy River Delta March-4033
A carved wood trail marker at the Sandy River Delta

Sandy River Delta March-4090
One of the many trails to walk on at the Sandy River Delta

Sandy River Delta March-4104
Sandy River Delta trail map and information

Early this month, the lower Willamette Valley got hit with some surprise snow. They originally told us it would snow but not stick because the ground was too wet. When the snow was obviously sticking first thing in the morning, and I knew I didn't have to work until later that afternoon, I just had to go out for a hike. I actually managed to be the first person on top of Bald Hill in the snow.

Bald Hill Snow Day March-4106
Bald Hill's main sign in the snow early this month

Bald Hill Snow Day March-4111
A less than completely useful trail marker

Bald Hill Snow Day March-4160
I don't think newts are generally out in the snow.

Bald Hill Snow Day March-4154
We walked far enough to get to the other parking lot and grabbed a picture of the sign there

A trip to the coast with a friend was a spur of the moment decision. The weather wasn't great to begin with, and just got windier and wetter the longer we stayed there. We had a goal in mind, but ended up not being able to find the beach we were looking for. Instead, we took the scenic route along the Three Capes and stumbled onto a small collection of trails. We turned around when the sheer cliff drops combined with the wind gusts freaked me out too much to keep going. I might try that trail again in the future on a calm day.

I'm honestly not sure of the official name here- we were kind of lost and found some hiking trails
We stopped at Cape Kiwanda (in Pacific City) on our way south) to grab a picture of some of the rock formations out in the surf. My friend had been there the previous weekend and forgotten to grab a picture. We walked on the beach for maybe five minutes before deciding the wind and rain was just too miserable to be worth it and heading back to the car to continue south. I'm including it because we technically hit the beach there, even if it was a short visit.

Pacific City
This was a rainy, windy, overall terrible weather day at the coast, but we stopped at Cape Kiwanda anyway

On that same day, we stopped for lunch in Neskowin, at a really nice little restaurant that has a fireplace in the corner (very welcome after our short beach walk at Cape Kiwanda) and great local food. The weather had dried up a bit once we were done with lunch, so we headed down to the beach for a little while. The tide was high but headed out.

Neskowin Beach, which happens to have a really good place to stop for lunch

Sometimes the beach isn't accessible this way due to high water
Back in Salem at the end of our very wet and windy coast trip, the sun was out and the sky was blue, so we decided to take a bit of a walk at the two connecting parks along the Willamette River. We started in West Salem and then went across the foot bridge to the downtown riverfront area, and then back. These are some nice trails, and the footbridge is fun, but large and stable enough to not be scary.

The waterfront in Salem has some nice casual walking trails and a foot bridge over the river

I shared some pictures of kayaks earlier this month. Well, we went out to Sunnyside Park in Linn County to do a little bit of kayaking on a gorgeous day- the last day of winter, in fact. We had enough time to either do a little hiking or get some lunch before heading to flyball practice, so we chose lunch and decided to leave hiking for another day.

Sunnyside Park-141331
Sunnyside Park in Linn County is on Foster Reservoir, and has boat ramps and camping, but not much in the way of hiking. 

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Park is in Corvallis, and has some off leash trail options. The off leash areas aren't very long, so I often end up doing a few laps, or combining with some of the on leash areas. This time of year, the off leash areas were basically sucking mud swamps. Ptera had fun though, and it held off on raining until right after we left.

Martin Luther King Jr Park-4290
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Park is a local Corvallis City park.

Martin Luther King Jr Park-4287
This is a fun painted sign at MLK park

Martin Luther King Jr Park-4286
MLK park has some off leash trail sections which can be fun, though they are mud pits this time of year

Another trip to Bald Hill just a few days ago, and I noticed I hadn't gotten a picture with this sign yet. We probably went to Bald Hill 2-3 times this month without taking any pictures, as well as the times where the camera came along. It really is my favorite local trail system, being accessible, allowing dogs off leash, and having a variety of trail options.

Bald Hill with Duster-4323
Duster joined me and Ptera for a Bald Hill hike

Overall, I think I did pretty good for hiking, beaches, and lakes in March. An early kayaking trip landed me at Foster Lake, we hit two different beaches, a new park in Portland, a new hike on the coast, a new park in Salem, and a number of trips to Bald Hill and other local city parks.

Having this goal in mind really does help motivate me to get out and do stuff. Instead of sitting at home watching Netflix, I decide to get in a quick hike at Bald Hill. Instead of enjoying a full day off at home, I ask friends if they want to go to the coast for the day. I'm enjoying it a lot.


  1. You guys got out way more than we did in March. Love all of your pictures.

  2. You were right in my backyard in Salem! I'm really intrigued about your mention of the footbridge. If it's the one I'm thinking of, it's new and just open! I'm gonna have to go over there and check it out.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  3. I'm loving your monthly recaps! Our weather has been too icky this year for me to feel motivated to adventure too far, so we've mostly been in our neighborhood, but we did get to start out April with a bit of an adventure I'll have to update on soon! Can't wait to see where April takes you!